After a little break yesterday from our Peacemaking journey, we return today to our subject of restoring the fallen sister in Christ.
I finished the other day reminding you (and me) about the wonderful lavish grace we receive through being united with Christ. This grace should cause us to run joyfully to the Lord and others to confess our logs/sins and bask in that mercy and forgiveness that is ours. We are to encourage others to do the same.
There are times when after we have done our own examination and confession (gotten the logs out of our own eye) that we are in a position to confront another about their specks. Genuine love for another person does require that we do so (Matt. 18:15)! Some think that we have no business in confronting another Christian about their sin and they frequently misuse Scripture that tells us not to "judge" one another. Those people are quick to also point out that we are sinners too and have no business pointing out the sin of another person. However, I do not find anyplace in Scripture that my sinfulness removes my responsibility to help my fallen brother or sister in Christ to see their sinfulness and lead them to repentance.
Biblical confrontation is motivated by love. First, the love of Christ compels us to do so, and the love for each other also drives us toward taking such a risk.
Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:1-2 (NASB)
What is the "Law" of Christ?
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ “The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31 (NASB)
There is no law above the law of love for God and Man. Part of our loving others is confronting them about their sinful patterns that have developed in their lives. Few Christians set out to get caught up in sin, and the word "caught" in the Gal. 6 verse indicates that the person is surprised or unaware they were heading into dangerous territory. Like a fish that takes the bait thinking he is getting an afternoon snack and instead he gets caught on the hook.
Sadly, when we see a Christian that has been lured into sin and taken the bait our usual response is to tell others how much of a sinner that person is. I have to say ladies, we are such terrible offenders here! Why is it that we are more comfortable telling others over coffee about Mary or Betty who has been drinking on the sly, but we are unwilling to help her? Why do we think we are so righteous, and why do we prefer to be so proud and condemn her rather than reach out to her?
Our response ought to be to surround her with love and assistance! Disciple her, care for her, love her with the compassionate love of Christ for the good of "Mary or Betty" and the glory of God!
Our purpose must never be to look holy, or righteous to others. We should really not "enjoy" such confrontation but rather look upon it as a sober obligation to a family member. If you are anxious and excited to confront a sinning Christian I suggest you check your motives!
While anytime someone confronts us about a sin there is discomfort and even hurt feelings, you have to realize that is really okay. Sin hates exposure and your flesh may desire to deflect the confrontation but resist those desires of the sinful heart.
The wise words of Paul who had occasion to write a scathing letter to the Corinthian church ring true in our modern age as well.
For though I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it—for I see that that letter caused you sorrow, though only for a while— I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. 2 Corinthians 7:8-10 (NASB)
Our goal in confrontation is to restore the fallen brother or sister in Christ.