Help Them to their Feet | Galatians 6:1
Galatians 6:1 | ESV [This Week’s Passage: Galatians 6:1-10]
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.
Mike’s Authorized Version (MAV)
Brothers, look, if someone’s caught falling on their face, making a fool of themselves, don’t stand there gawking and pointing. You call that moving to Holy Spirit rhythms? Here’s the move he calls for: Come alongside. Lift them up. Help them to their feet. Get them moving again. And do it gently – no chiding or clucking your tongue at them. And keep an eye on your own feet while you’re at it – or you might just end up sprawled out all over the floor next to them.
Our culture lives to see celebrities and politicians fall. The harder, the more spectacular, the better. Maybe it comforts us to know they are human after all. Maybe it just gratifies us to see someone who messes up worse than we do – or at least worse than we get caught doing. An entire industry of scandal/gossip newsstand papers is supported by this all too human bent in us. Jesus was leading up to this “bent” in his story of the prodigal son in Luke 15. His listeners (and us, if we are honest) want to see the arrogant upstart youth get his comeuppance when he drags himself back home in shame, smelling of pigs. But instead our religious sensibilities are scandalized by the father’s extravagant grace in running out to his son, embracing him, and then throwing him the party to end all parties at which a radically different tune is being played. So it is here with Paul as we enter the final “page” of his letter. The Galatians seemed to have been at each other’s throats as a result of the troublemakers’ influence and teaching among them. As Paul’s letter sets matters straight, it would be easy for the “faithful” among them to seize a major “I told you so” moment over those who saw the error of their thoughts and ways. Like Jesus in the prodigal son story, Paul urges them to dance to a different tune – one that gives up the “I told you so” finger-pointing and replaces it with a supportive, reconciling, healing embrace that is given in the sober recognition that they too have and/or will find themselves in the same boat. Sooner or later.
What is your first emotional response when you hear of a brother or sister who has had a more or less public “fall from grace”? When have you been called upon to support such a brother or sister? What did this look like for you?
Lord, instill within me a love that “rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth.” Show me how to lovingly, faithfully support those who have stumbled in their daily walk, even as I pray for you to support me. Through Jesus.
For all of this week’s resources on Galatians including this week’s DG video on Galatians, check out the Vineyard website.