Toward the end of Paul’s letter to the Galatian church, he begins to talk about some important issues for dealing with people. The first is working with people who aren’t perfect. I think we forget, sometimes, that none of us walks in the clouds.
Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.
Paul talks about someone who’s had a side-slip. Whether intentional or not, we sometimes see our past sinful life try to make an appearance. That’s why God has us doing life together.
The Lord’s desire is always for restoration. It’s not about guilt or condemnation. When we experience a failure, there’s usually enough self-condemnation, so that we don’t need to add any more from the outside.
I believe that’s why the Holy Spirit wants restoration to be accomplished only by those who are spiritual. Notice that He didn’t say that those versed in psychology, or those who’ve never sinned, should work with them.
The qualification is for those who are spiritual. They spend time listening to the Holy Spirit. It’s evident from their lives that they consistently produce the Fruit of the Spirit. They’re the ones uniquely qualified to bring restoration.
But even spiritual people aren’t above being tempted. Tempted to do what? Paul goes on to talk about this temptation.
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load.
In dealing with the weaknesses of others, there’s always a temptation to compare. We end up comparing our strength with their weakness. But that gives us an inflated view of ourselves.
It also makes it easier for us to begin judging others. We start to criticize and condemn, instead of bringing the restoration of the Holy Spirit.
I think that an important part of this is understanding the difference between a burden and a load. These are two very different words in the Greek.
The word burden simply means a weight – something heavy. There are times where, because of what we’re going through, our life seems a little too tough to handle. Spiritual people are a help during these times. The law of Christ is their internal prompting by the Holy Spirit to bring encouragement during these times.
The word, load, on the other hand, speaks of an invoice or work-order. That’s our God-given assignment. No one can do that for us. Mine is different than yours. I can’t compare what I’ve been called to do with your calling.
There are people only you can reach and assignments only you can do the way the Lord wants them done. So it’s not my job to take over because I think you’re inadequate. If I truly am spiritual, then I’ll encourage and strengthen you so that you’re able to fulfill your unique destiny.
Comparison and condemnation have no place in the body of believers. We’re here to fulfill the plan of Christ, not to please each other.
Spend time in the presence of the Lord and then be a blessing to those around you.
Question: What is a time that the Holy Spirit prompted you to be a help to someone else?
© Nick Zaccardi 2017