Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ (Galatians 6:1-2 NLT).
Friend to Friend
While walking at a park, a couple in front of me abruptly stepped off the path. The woman reached down to take off her shoe and held onto the man for stability. It only took her a few seconds for her to pluck out the rock and then she held onto him again as put her shoe back on.
As I watched that little scene unfold, I’m reminded of the times when I’ve been like that woman with something in my life that caused me discomfort or pain. I’ve felt emotional stones in my life such as depression, anxiety, control issues, anger, and disappointment. Emotional stones hurt! But it’s much harder to remove our emotional, spiritual, or relational stones if we don’t have others to lean on.
Now, imagine that same scene, except this time the man criticizes the woman when she leans against him. How would she feel trying to get the rock out of her shoe on her own while he stands there complaining that if she’d been more careful or smarter, she wouldn’t have gotten into that situation?
In Today’s Truth, the Apostle Paul encourages us to not abandon or ignore our fellow brother or sister in Christ when they reveal an “emotional stone” or “sin stone” in their lives. God can use us, our stories and our compassion in powerful ways to draw His children back to Him!
As Paul teaches us to help others, he reminds us that our job isn’t to shame people back to God. Just as important, we aren’t responsible for whether or not someone repents. That’s up to them. We can, however, trust that God is at work. We can trust that the same powerful God who raised Jesus from the dead is the same God whose power is at work in the life of the person caught in sin. Therefore, rather than avoid or try to control, we should stand next to our struggling friend and offer a shoulder to lean on if they need it.
In light of Paul’s teaching in Galatians 6:1-2, here are three practical takeaways that equip us to help others without hurting ourselves:
- The goal of the gospel is restoration (freedom in Christ), not making someone follow rules.
It’s hard when we see someone trapped in a destructive sin. We can be lights for the gospel in someone’s dark situation! We don’t need to shame them or pressure them to “just do better” because we trust God’s power to transform them from the inside out.
- Spirit-led gentleness should guide our conversations, comments, and questions.
Here are some questions or statements I have developed over many years to approach difficult conversations with gentleness and the ultimate goal of restoration:
- I care about you, and I’m praying God’s best blessing for your life.
- Where do you feel close to God? Is there a place where you feel far from God?
- Can you tell me what’s been hard about this for you?
- I’ve seen…. I’ve noticed…. (Share firsthand observations, not opinions or speculation.)
- What do you think God’s best blessing is for you in this situation?
- When you’re helping someone, don’t harm yourself.
We end up hurting ourselves when we place our emphasis on rescuing someone rather than on encouraging Spirit-led restoration. It’s vital to have accountability friends as trusted voices to call attention to any ongoing frustration, burnout or bitterness.
We all need someone to lean on. And there’s someone out there that needs to lean on you.
God, remind me that You are responsible for life change, not me. You’ve called me to love and lead people to You. Help me to share Your gospel of grace as the only way to true freedom—and more effective than any self-help method out there. Thank You that I can trust Your power to transform willing lives.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
What are some examples of standing beside and supporting another believer who has fallen into sin?
What are some other statements or questions that you could use to talk and walk with another believer in need of restoration?
More from the Girlfriends
Today’s content is from Barb’s new Bible study, Breakthrough: Finding Freedom in Christ. This six-week Bible study on the book of Galatians teaches you how to find freedom from following religious rules and any fear of not being enough for God. Barb’s study includes six powerful Freedom Principles and application exercises that equip you to break free from fear and experience God’s great adventure of joy and purpose for your life.
© 2021 by Barb Roose. All rights reserved.