August 14 I Friday
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” —Hebrews 10:24-25
Sometimes in our Christian journey, we make choices and find ourselves stuck, unable to get out. Paul tells us, “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently” (Galatians 6:1). It is interesting to note the wording that Paul uses when he talks about being caught in sin. Imagine a lobster caught in a trap; it cannot free itself, it needs someone to come along and set it free.
Christ can deliver us from any sin and one of the ways He does it is through His body, the church. We are to be a community of restoration, a community that helps one another. When someone is caught in a sin and is unable to get themselves out of what they have got themselves into, we are to walk by the Spirit and restore that brother or sister. Note that Paul wrote, “…you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently.” In other words, we are not to gossip about them, post it on social media or record a podcast announcing it. Instead, we are to gently restore them.
Satan loves to expose us publicly, but the Holy Spirit does it quietly and gently. Similarly, we should not shoot our wounded; rather, we should care for our wounded. Paul describes this as the hallmark of Christian community, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). What this verse implies is that every believer has a burden and it is not God’s intention that we should carry it alone. We are to carry each other’s burden.
But how do we carry someone else’s burden? Do we do it from a distance? Absolutely not! We need to be up close so that we can feel the weight of their burden on us. If they are a mess, we need to step down into the muck and bear that burden alongside them. We cannot bear one another’s burdens from a distance; we need to stand together.
God did not design for us to live the Christian life alone. We are meant to be connected as the body of Christ, loving, caring and carrying each other’s burdens. The late John Stott once said, “The first and great evidence of our walking by the Spirit or being filled with the Spirit is not some private mystical experience of our own, but our practice relationship of love with other people.” The church is to be a community of restoration. May we be willing to help another caught in a situation, restore another gently and carry another’s burden.
Prayer: Precious Jesus, thank You that I am not meant to live this Christian life alone, but You have called us to be a community of restoration for one another. Open my heart to love and care for others.