Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted—Galatians 6:1.
What happens when someone we really respect fails morally? They fall hard because they were perceived as super spiritual, having walked with the Lord for a long time. We may feel betrayed, angry, saddened and surely we grieve. Private sins exposed by the confession of a public figure jolts our faith. However, it's the Lord’s reminder that we look to Him, not man, as our standard of behavior. By God’s grace we pray healing and restoration for our fallen brother or sister in the faith. We who are spiritual are to repent of any latent sin, lest it bring us down in public shame.
We pick them up, hold them up, and build them up. Restoration is a long process that requires patience, forgiveness and accountability. Yes, the friend who has failed morally must want help for healing to happen. A humble and contrite heart is what the Holy Spirit uses to bring about spiritual and emotional wholeness. Like the place of protection provided by the city of refuge in the Old Testament (Numbers 35:25), those in moral recovery need a safe environment. Bad habits created over the years by secret sins take time to change. Let the Spirit rebuild their soul.
“Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7).
What if we are the one who has been caught in a sin or sins? Our phone texts are found out to be inappropriate. Our moral and financial compromises are discovered after months or years of business travel. The attention of our girlfriend or boyfriend gets the attention of our spouse. We are ensnared by the trap and illusion of pornography and our prayers don’t seem to help. No one is beyond the restoring grace of God. But, the Lord’s discipline may very well precede working through the pain, guilt and shame. Since He loves us so much, He keeps us honest and accountable.
If the Lord can restore and use the imperfect lives of Abraham, David and Mary Magdalene for His glory, He can do the same work of grace in us. We are all a work in process and we will fail along the way of life. It's the right response to failure that leads us to success. We learn to say I was wrong, I was foolish and I need loving accountability in my life. Humiliation that leads to healing is a trophy of God’s grace. Lift up the fallen, hold up the hurting, build up the broken!
“For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes” (Proverbs 24:16).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me the grace and love to lift up a friend who has fallen morally.
Related Readings: Matthew 18:15; 1 Corinthians 3:18, 8:2; 2 Corinthians 2:7; James 2:8