Cabe and Rhonda are trashing their lives. He is an alcoholic and she is a spendaholic. While they love each other, their weaknesses create a bad spiral. Rhonda gets frustrated by the long hours Cabe works and so she rationalizes going on spending sprees. When Cabe gets the credit card bill inwardly he is so mad at Rhonda that he knows he will say things he will regret, so he gets drunk instead. Unfortunately what then comes out of his mouth is even worse. Sadly, both of them know God and inwardly understand that their behavior is unacceptable, but they will not be exiting their spiral anytime soon because of the way they are treated by fellow Christians.
Galatians 6:1—Brothers, if someone is caught in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual should restore such a person with a gentle spirit, watching out for yourselves so you also won’t be tempted.
Have you ever done something wrong only to feel worse because of the verbal pounding you received from another Christian? The Apostle Paul probably experienced times when he or someone close to him stumbled and thereafter quickly felt the righteous wrath of fellow believers. Certainly he was aware of the impact his exhortation had on the Corinthian believers to discipline one of their sinning members. He writes back to them, “The punishment inflicted by the majority is sufficient for that person. As a result, you should instead forgive and comfort him. Otherwise, this one may be overwhelmed by excessive grief. Therefore I urge you to reaffirm your love to him” (2 Co. 2:6-8).
Paul understood that a gentle spirit was paramount for restoration to occur. This is true for many reasons. The one correcting can easily come across as judgmental, insensitive and even “holier-than-thou.” Such behavior may simply further alienate the one being corrected, or cause him or her to become increasingly defensive.
But there is another reason to be gentle. The one correcting stands on the moral high ground and is susceptible to pride for being morerighteous. God knows so well how our conceit masks our own hypocrisy and how quickly we can rebuke others only to stumble ourselves. Jesus, in Matthew 7:4, said to His listeners, “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and look, there’s a log in your eye?”
Imagine what might happen if Cabe and Rhonda’s friends asked if they could come over and visit. What if they humbly prayed for them and gently spoke observations intended to bring healing? What if they listened before launching into an uninvited sermon? If we would honestly treat people the way we want to be treated I suspect restoration would be far more common. Something to think about . . . in reveration.
Criticism, like rain, should be gentle enough to nourish a man's growth without destroying his roots.—Frank A. Clark
Lord, give us the wisdom to utter words that are gentle and tender, for tomorrow we may have to eat them.—Mo Udall
©2014 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)