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Sunday: Restoring the Fallen — 20 Comments

  1. This question came up while my family was discussing this lesson: What are the requisites for going to someone in the church who we see is sinning? The “politically correct” response is not to call sin by its right name and coddle the sinner. Christ called the leaders of his church a “brood of vipers”, Stephen called the Sanhedrin murderers, and Paul let Peter know his sin at Antioch (Galatians 2:11). Why should we hesitate to name “inconvenient truth” to the sinner? Their sin may leaven the church, cause the downfall of others and open the church to the scorn of the world.

    Just asking for some thoughts on this.

  2. Telling others that they are sinning is a very difficult business and there is no simple answer. I have seen really serious damage done when accusations have been made on a suspicion, so I am aware that the answer is not something that can be given in a few pithy comments on a blog.

    Here are some thoughts to consider:

    1) If you are the only person who has "seen" the sin, be very careful about who you share that burden with. it is very easy to be wrong, even with what you consider as compelling evidence. Once you have made an accusation, it is very difficult to take back.

    2) Follow the Biblical advice of going to that person in private, with someone else, first. Never meet alone with the other party, or accuse the person publicly.

    3) Pray for wisdom and understanding and for the right words to say. Take your time. Things are said in the heat of the moment that are best left unsaid.

    And finally, let me reiterate that it is easy to accuse, but difficult to offer a solution. Many of us make accusations and are more keen to see ourselves vindicated for our observations than we are to see the accused saved.

    • Thank you Maurice for the list of thoughts to consider you've shared. I will do them when problem arise in my church or when I encounter one. I noticed that in your number 2 list you said;
      2)Follow the Biblical advice of going to that person in private, with someone else, first. Never meet alone with the other party, or accuse the person publicly." But Matt 18:15 said that you first go alone in private to your brother...

      • It depends on the circumstances. Having been involved in education most of my life, there have been times when I have had to raise ethical and moral issues with students. Typically, errors of judgement by the student can be handled alone, but where there is the possibility of more serious consequences or conflict, then it is best to have someone else with me. I can think of one instance in my experience where I had a conversation alone with another person that in hindsight I seriously regret not having another person with me. The circumstance was not of my making and a third party witness would have been helpful.

        Any situation that involves some sort of conflict resolution requires considerable wisdom and should not be treated lightly. Obviously the intention should always be to "retore the fallen".

  3. When I read this I come to realize my sinful ways and what I do. The reason why we spend so much time looking at others and their sins is because for many it is a challenge of truth to look at our selves. We question what the other is doing, but what are we doing to help them? Once I seen a church go into an uproar because a 15 y/o girl was pregnant. Immediately that girl became a topic of interest, was preached about and in one comment a sister told the parents "If that happened to my child I would hide myself." Were is the compassion? I made it clear that I was displeased with this display of unspiritual behavior. My wife and I, in turn, when to the family's home and gave them friendship, prayer and love.

    However, I too experienced the same when my own daughter fell into the same issue. Although the church was not touching that topic as before, we felt no support as parents and no one, not even the family we gave comfort too, came to comfort us. In fact, once the church fully discovered, the first thing they wanted was to present my daughter in front of the church board to explain. Needless to say, that was not going to happen. I clearly advised that this was not going to happen. That unless the church board admits their list of sins to the church, who are they to force my daughter, or any other to be embarassed.

    The outcome was very odd. I prayed and my Lord send me a Pastor who cared for me and my family, which is the place we go to now. However, although my daughter has not returned fully, she is trying. As for the church we discussed, I recently returned to the church to preach and serve the Lord. We all fall in sin and no one person is perfect, but what this lesson teaches is that we can help each other with love and compassion and that is the key to salvation. I don't look at the sinner, I look at the sin and consider how I can help the sinner, with my Lord's guidance, to consider a change. Even if those that hurt you anger you, let it go. If it is too much then find a solution to resolve the conflict, but let it go. No sin is greater then the salvation from Christ. Who am I to judge, but I am a child of God to help others in need to the best of my ability. To plant seeds of hope.

    • Hi Dave,

      Thanks for sharing your personal experience.

      It's true that many sins are rebuked in church whilst others more serious go uncensured;

      Mrs White writes in Steps To Christ Page 30;

      "God does not regard all sins as of equal magnitude; there are degrees of guilt in His estimation, as well as in that of man; but however trifling this or that wrong act may seem in the eyes of men, no sin is small in the sight of God. Man's judgment is partial, imperfect; but God estimates all things as they really are. The drunkard is despised and is told that his sin will exclude him from heaven; while pride, selfishness, and covetousness too often go unrebuked. But these are sins that are especially offensive to God; for they are contrary to the benevolence of His character, to that unselfish love which is the very atmosphere of the unfallen universe. He who falls into some of the grosser sins may feel a sense of his shame and poverty and his need of the grace of Christ; but pride feels no need, and so it closes the heart against Christ and the infinite blessings He came to give."

  4. I personally don’t like the use of “mistakes” in the first paragraph setting; “mistakes” to me connotes things like planting a tree to close to the house, making an error in your checkbook, dialing the wrong phone number.

    Is there a difference between making a math mistake in your checkbook, which results in an overdrawn account and purposely writing a check knowing there are insufficient funds because you are trying to defraud someone? Would you call both of these a mistake?

    In heaven, in a sinless world, can there be mistakes without sin?

    * Can a sinless being hit a wrong note on a musical instrument?

    * Can a sinless being, when stretching their mind to contemplate some aspect of quantum physics generate a false hypothesis and make a calculation error?

    * Can a sinless being plant a shrub in a place they later determine isn’t ideal?

    * Was it a mistake for Eve to wander alone in the Garden? Did she already commit sin when she did?

    Are mistakes and violations of God’s law always the same?

    • What do you think about the meaning of this saying, "To be human is to error." I understand what you are talking about when you say 'mistake' and you are somewhat correct, but people do mistakes. Sin is a mistake, an error, a wrong. We all do mistakes, and I am not taking about a check book alone. How many times has someone asked you for help and you decided not to do it because you had more pressing things to do. To later discover, if you would have help then the issue that person is dealing with might have made a difference. I also understand that many use the term as a way to explain their constant problems. I can see that point too.

    • Again lets look at the law of Christ, found in Galatians. Galatians 6:2. I do believe that Paul was refering to love one another when dealing with anothers transgressions. Again Christ commands us to love one another. 1John 3:23.

  5. There is another point on that,

    5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:5New International Version (NIV)

    I totally agree with Maurice, if we decide to talk to the person we have to do it in prayer and in love... Seeing ourselves as we really are is not such an easy task, but necessary!

    We need to help, not to judge!

  6. Galatians 6:1 doesn't say point out the sin or accuse of sin. It says "restore". I'm thinking it takes more than a discussion of wrongs to create the healing mentioned.

    • I agree Christina. We will never lead people closer to Jesus by pointing out what they are doing wrong.

      Identifying and pointing out others' errors will not bring them into the church of God... nor will it keep them there.

  7. It says restore a person in love. We're to recognize that we're in the same boat. We're all capable of making the same mistakes,he who is without sin cast the first stone. We must look to Christ and pray for wisdom to know how reach out in love

  8. We know that we all make miserable mistakes all of the time, pray for the Holy spirit to help us recognize that we need to do as Jesus did, ask forgiveness and forgive anyone who has acted against us in this way. Jesus forgives but we need to repent and ask, praise His name

  9. A few years ago, I became exposed in my church prior to the Holy Spirit forewarning me of such an event. Although, I was never directly confronted by anyone about my sinful act, not even from my siblings. However, it became obvious in the church by those facial expressions even from a child that speaks volumes that something isn't right. The sharp turn of direction to avoid making eye contact. The rejection of a right hand of fellowship. Peoples heads looking downward when I spoke. Last, the pastors message on being exposed. I will not speak of those of other faiths, my community, nor those on my job I had to face daily. It took me a while to see the enormous shame and embarrassment I caused to many and especially to God and myself.

    However, I believe that in spite of the things I mentioned above it's apparent as well that many in my church, fervently prayed for me. Although, I could not see this restoring taking place at first, I could hear the Spirit asking " where can I go and whom do I follow".

    Although, I still struggle with the consistency of attendance at times, but the Lord knowns when I do show up how wonderful I feel to receive a smile, an embrace, handshake, being of service and just opening up a door for somebody makes me feel at home this is just Gods why of letting me known "I am where you should be" and thank you church for your prayers.

  10. Sometimes, experience can be our greatest instructor. When one has fallen, or swayed from the straight, and narrow pathway, A sense of loneliness tends to set in. When one with previous defects, trials, and faults, have overcome, they have sometimes been the best vessels to witness, or restore, a fellow believer to a healthy, and healing relationship with our Saviour. In ◄ Luke 22:32 ► Christ spoke these words to Peter: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. It's our Saintly duty encourage, uplift, and reconnect, one another by the power of the Holy Spirit into the Saviours care.

  11. The help that Paul is recommending in Galatians 6:10 to restore, meaning to repair or heal the damage reminds me of the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Luke 10:33-37. Very similar to the needs in both situations.

  12. Paul concludes his Epistle on a very intimate and compassionate note. After disposing of the false teachers who have been misleading his flock by teaching legalism, the apostle exhorts the flock to help each another gently, lovingly and in a humble manner. E.G. White in the book Education (page 113) explains: "The word here translated 'restore' means to put in joint, as a dislocated bone. How suggestive the figure! He who falls into error or sin is thrown out of relation to everything about him. He may realize his error, and be filled with remorse; but he cannot recover himself. He is in confusion and perplexity, worsted and helpless. He is to be reclaimed, healed, reestablished."

  13. The most difficult part of restoration of another sinner is admitting (that is, confessing) that I have a problem—sin—that I am broken and I cannot fix myself. Confession makes me vulnerable to censure and abuse from others, but by admitting to my Heavenly Father that I am broken, his Spirit can work with my contrite spirit to bring healing and restoration of our relationship and my relationship with others—we become one in the expression of his selfless love, just like Jesus.

    My view of God fashions my response to the sins of others. Pride is the most personally and socially destructive sin of man because it is derived from a very distorted and perverted view of God’s character. It is the expression of perverted love—the love and exaltation of self above others. This is why God reserves the strongest and harshest words for those who practice this sin.

    My Father in heaven calls me to a very high standard through his son, Jesus. “I tell you the truth, just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did it for me.” [Matthew 25:40, NET] I know the kind of people with whom Jesus associated—they were broken dysfunctional people like me. So, the work of restoration requires that I look beyond the pain, anger and shame that my sin causes, so God’s spirit can work in and through me to accomplish his loving will in the life of another broken and dysfunctional person, that is, the restoration of that person to the family of God, that they too may worship the God I serve in spirit and in truth. True love is redemptive. This is the healing restoration that Christ practiced and gave as an example for those who bear his name.

    The Father hopes for the restoration of every sinning dysfunctional person on this earth (including me), but the sad reality is that because of his love all have the choice to reject his hope for them. Nevertheless, “love…hopes for all things,” [1 Corinthians 13:6-7] so my determination to work with the Father in his redemptive work should not be daunted because there is no guarantee of success.

  14. This is a late contribution. There are different circumstances to most any eventuality. The restoration under discussion can take a number of twists and turns. The obvious need is one that a person has the ability to help. Often this capability is not a major problem unless blown out of proportion, as some of the situations have been noted. The point is, help if you can. Making it worse is certainly not the answer.


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