May 24, 2016


Paul said, “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” (Gal 6:1 NIV). In my mind I always though the implication was, as with the woman caught in the act of adultery, actually catching someone sinning. It just dawned on me that Paul is probably referring to someone caught up, or entangled in, a specific sinful behavior — pornography, adultery, embezzlement. The treatment for a onetime caught-in-the-act sin calls for repentance and forgiveness. However, someone ensnared in a sin becomes a long-term restoration project.

1 comment:

Steve Corey said...


-----If upon arriving at home after work every day I kick the dog, I am caught up in sin. If one day you see me kick the dog, the only time you’ve ever seen me kick the dog, the only time anyone has ever seen me kick the dog, I am yet caught up in sin, while you may very well think I’ve been caught in the act of kicking my dog one afternoon. A discerning mind can tell by how the dog reacts to the kick whether this was an isolated incident, let’s say a mistake in the heat of anger, or whether cruelty has become part of my relationship with the dog.
-----Paul’s proposed restoration involves three important elements. In the order of his presentation, first is spirituality. Everyone in Christ is spiritual by the simple fact of being in Christ. But the designation of spirituality for restoring another goes beyond that. Paul speaks of the weak and the strong in the Lord, of those yet needing milk and of those ready for the beef. Otherwise there would have been no point in making the distinction of "those who are spiritual“. For he wrote the letter to everyone spiritual enough to at least be in the Lord. Only those spiritual enough to be apt in the other two elements should try to correct another. The second element bears out this distinction.
-----Gentleness does not exist in the vacuum of low grade spirituality. Its substance intertwines with the carefulness of caring, the kindness to care, and the intimacy to discover what needs cared for. These intertwined substances are why gentleness is fruit of the Spirit. Gentleness so smacks of emotion about the other person’s well being that the mind is directed to a careful study of that other person’s frailties and delicacies with the direct intent to preserve them. Gentleness moves forward with the sympathy of I Cor 12:26 (if one member suffers, all suffer) and with the regard of Rom 12:10 (outdo one another in showing honor.) It is the honor for another which moves gentleness to explore the dainties of the other. It is suffering with the suffering which moves gentleness to handle those dainties with tenderness.
-----This calls for intimacy with one’s own self to produce the third element -avoidance of temptation. Intimately knowing yourself comes from looking to yourself. Yet, in this situation, the purpose of the intimacy with yourself is for taking precautions against the pride, conceit, or self aggrandizement which naturally grow like weeds in a fragile situation like what Paul is describing. The emotions of these weeds can so quickly turn the basic focus of one’s mind from the delicate makeup of the other person to the great and wonderful wisdom of myself. Entirely different and not so gentle expressions and behaviors emit from such focus upon the self (take my word for it, I know this by much experience.) These expressions and behaviors tend to act upon the other person like little mill-balls, and those can evoke musket balls from the other person. People always seem ripe for good ball games. And either the chaotic emotions of those ball games or the frightful emotions of fearing such ball games can snooker a less spiritual person into kicking the pooch a little bit, too.

Love you all,
Steve Corey