Restoration or Condemnation?
Paul shares a lot of good counsel in Galatians 6. He begins with a gem in verse 1: Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. In this verse Paul reminds the followers of Jesus about the right attitude regarding the sin of others. The first response should be to seek restoration, not condemnation. The first response is not to isolate but to reach out in restoration, in what Paul calls “a spirit of gentleness”. This is not an attempt to excuse the sin or the sinner. Rather, the word “restoration” has within it the idea of the sinner seeking repentance for his/her sin. Sometimes there can be no restoration right away because of the unrepentant attitude of the sinner but often this is not the case when those who have been offended respond with a spirit of gentleness. How do you respond to the sin of others, whether someone you know or a politician or other leader that you don’t know? Do you seek restoration or do you enjoy condemnation, whether in person or via the internet? There is often within us an initial desire for condemnation… a sort of “I told you so” or “I knew it” attitude. But this attitude betrays our own very sinful nature doesn’t it? Paul addresses this. We should use a spirit of gentleness to seek to restore a sinning brother or sister. If not, we may very well find ourselves tempted in the same way, or our condemnation may lead to sin for us.
And after all, what do we want when we sin? We want forgiveness. We want restoration. So why not offer that to those who have wronged us and even those who have not even wronged us at all…we just don’t like their policies? I encourage all of us to follow God’s words here in Galatians 6…seek restoration. Put away the condemnation…for the good of all.