What are we supposed to do?
“Bretheren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ“ (Galatians 6: 1-2 KJV).
One of the teachings of Christianity is that we should bear each other’s burdens. We usually do a pretty good job of this. When we hear prayer requests at church, many of us make sure to remember those people in our daily prayers. Or when we hear of someone who lost a loved one, or is going through a financial crisis, or lost a job, etc… we are quick to go to God in prayer for their needs to be met. I’m sure some of us even take pride in how well and/or how often we pray for other’s needs.
But, what happens when we hear about a brother or sister who had an affair? Or what if we learn of someone getting a divorce; or find out that someone we know is admitting to being an alcoholic or drug addict? What is our first reaction to such news? Sadly, I’m pretty sure I can say our first thoughts are along the lines of : “can you believe that they did that to their spouse?” or “I thought they were a better Christian than that.” I’m sure you can think of some other things that could be said. However, the bible teaches us we are to bear one another’s burdens, and gently help those who fall to rise again and resume their walk with God.
Here is an example of how we have to be careful so that we don’t fall ourselves:
Do you remember a few years back when Michael English had an affair with a member of another band? I think he was with the Gaither Vocal Band at the time and they were on tour with another Christian group. Now remember, these were 2 groups of people who spent the majority of their time singing for God, praising God, and serving God. The were trying to reach the lost, minister to peoples needs, and restore the fallen, etc…These weren’t just (as my grandma would say: heathens), they were people trying their best to live for God.
Why did this happen? They let their guard down. When we take our eyes off the Lord and start focusing too much on this life, we stand the risk of making the same or similar mistakes. Especially in the times we live, we must be “on top of our game” spiritually speaking, and we need to keep “our eyes on the prize.” Even those who we consider to be the best of us are still susceptible to falling if they lose sight of what is important!
Galatians 1:2 says that we should bear each other’s burdens. So when we hear of others who have fallen, we should react as though we have fallen. If it was you who had fallen, I bet you’d be on your face before God and not just sitting back and saying: “what a shame” or “they had so much potential.” Brothers and sisters please, we don’t have time to be judging each other or comparing how bad we think other’s sin is compared to our own. We have to bind together as the body of Christ (as God intended all along) and lift up our fallen ones. It is our job to reach out to them and help them to their feet. If they fall more than once, we have to be patient with them and help them back up more than once.
Our God never leaves us nor forsakes us, He is ever patient and full of grace. Why would He expect us to be any different in how we treat our brothers and sisters in the faith? He told us that we should love our neighbor as ourselves. He gave us parables about the shepherd who left the (strong) 99 and went out to look for the (weak) 1 sheep. Don’t forget about the lesson of the Prodigal son! Our God is merciful and I don’t think it would be a stretch for us to assume that He intends for us to show that mercy to each other as often as needed!
I leave you with this quote from Charles Conn: “Let us mark well that we are responsible for one another, and all our loud protestations do not eliminate the fact that we are indeed our brother’s keeper.”