“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in a spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest…………lest what? You will also be tempted.” (Galatians 6:1).
Of all the scriptures we have been given in our lifetime walk with The LORD, this one may have caused us greater judgment than perhaps any other.
Our failure to teach and understand the deepest meaning of this subject is perhaps our lack of knowledge. God said that his people were destroyed for lack of knowledge.
In this case, it is likely about not having the information needed.
It’s a tough subject to talk about. I think it is sad that we have not known more about the restoration process.
Maybe it’s also possible that we have made the rules too tough and may have set ourselves up for failure.
One thing is sure, having The Holy Ghost does not save us from being human. There is no perfect human on this earth and the only one who was perfect was destroyed for it.
And sometimes our own understanding of His humanity is limited to what we have learned from our leaders and peers. There are several things we need to consider in this scripture.
The words, “ye which are spiritual,” imply that some of us may not be spiritual enough for this work. I guess that one statement causes many to draw back from discussing this.
For us to think that some of us are in the Church and are not spiritual leads us to feel we are just judging others and perhaps we are but rightfully so.
We know the fruit of others and we think it whether we say it openly or not. It does indeed take a spiritual person to do the work that is needed in restoring another person.
It’s hard work made even more intense by the level of seriousness involved with each person who falls.
One writer wrote, “Rejoice not against me oh my enemy, when I fall, I shall arise.”
Note that he did not say “if” I fall but when. All of us fall in one way or another. I t may not be some terribly gross sin but we do hit our bottoms emotionally and even spiritually. We are taught not to show it.
“In a spirit of meekness” is the phrase that most often eliminates some of us from restoring others.
It takes a big person, a spiritual person not to say, “How could you?” or “I told you so.” This may be the true test of being like Christ.
Some of his comments to those who had failed were like, “Neither do I condemn you.”
The meekness and tenderness he expressed was life changing to those who made mistakes. Forgiving others in the way He forgave and forgives us is maybe our greatest challenge.
The next part is where we have brought untold trouble upon ourselves. Someone failed to teach us that this was a promise, a prophecy if you please as to what would happen to us if we failed to follow these instructions.
Consider yourself, unless you also want to be tempted. Everyone has a weakness — no matter who you are.
We each have that one trouble spot that if not kept under subjection could rise to cause us and those around us great distress. Let’s name a few: jealousy, envy, a bad temper, finding fault with others, spending too much money, overeating, egos, conceit and yes, even sexual weaknesses. The list seems endless.
It’s strange that we seldom talk about the fact that even the Apostle Paul said that the very things he did not want to do, those are the things he did.
We normally cannot digest that because we want our apostles to have been perfect because we think we have to be.
Jesus said, be ye perfect, as “I” am perfect. However, He was very human when He walked here.
This scripture bears a warning, almost to the point of being a curse against us, if we do not restore others in the right manner.
This is difficult to say. Some of our marriages may have ended up facing the rocks because we failed to do everything we could to help other couples who were having problems and making mistakes.
I hear people in the Church, who raised their children in the Church, express absolute bewilderment when theirs all of a sudden make mistakes and end up in trouble. It seems they don’t have a clue.
Some things just happen in spite of our best intentions, but could it be that someone else’s child went astray and we did not do everything we could to help that family restore their loved one.
I know this is hard. Jesus actually gave his life for us. He meant for us to go the mile for one another.
It is in this very chapter that we take the scripture, “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”
I believe this scripture was put right here for a reason. We love to quote this verse, but we omit the verses cited just above it: “Bear ye one anothers burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
I’m afraid that if we do not restore our fallen brothers and sisters in the way the Book says it here, we are setting ourselves and our children up to fall and I’m afraid no one is going to help us either.
Again, God help us. It does not have to be like this. There is a way out.
Restoring fallen Ministers is a taboo subject among us. We have a policy that is likely not from good Bible teaching and that is: “one strike and you’re out.”
Why our Church has not had a successful program for our ministers who fall and make mistakes, probably says that we are not ‘spiritual enough.’
Too many preachers are falling into all sorts of mistakes, some very serous. We have seen our higher officials sometimes reinstate their own people, but we remained very critical on the local level.
In the fear of The LORD, is it possible that our failure to restore a fallen minister brother in the right spirit and with the work necessary, has resulted in more failures and disgrace in the ministry?
The standard that we use against other ministers may also one day be used against us. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Good ministers are hard to replace. Just as in any other business, throwing away an employee when years of training and teaching have been invested in them, is a terrible waste.
An experienced worker cannot be replaced so easily and one would think that a minister restored would have the compassion and insight to help others avoid the same mistakes or help restore others who fell from weaknessess.
I have seen some beautiful ministers fall into all sorts of sin and be thrown out and disgraced. Never to be allowed to hold up their heads again.
Sometimes it was their wives. Forever lost and disgraced. Again, what a terrible waste.
We did not restore them. We were not taught how. God did not intend for these ministers to be discarded any more than He did members of the laity.
Those in the ministry are targets for the enemy and many mean hearted people love to see them fall. I can tell you from experience that the enemy does know your weak points.
The word “overtaken” suggests that this is about people who did not deliberately set out to make the mistakes they made or to destroy their lives.
Their problems caught up with them and they stumbled. It often happens at a time when we are the most vulnerable and this is the time when our enemy will lay a trap for us.
If we are not very careful, we can walk right into it without thinking. These times can be when we are stressed over things going on in the Church, having problems at home in our marriage or with our children or for some of us it can be trouble on the job and particularly during financial difficulties.
We often have questions about why these things had to happen or even why God allowed it to happen.
It can be very heartbreaking and there is often much pain. I don’t pretend to have all of the answers.
We can learn from our mistakes but this one thing I am sure of — God did not intend for us to be destroyed over it and he certainly did not intend for gifted men and women to be discarded!
Restoration is not a matter of choice. It is an absolute mandate with serious consequences to the believer.
If I am honest, I don’t think this will happen in most of our fellowships. We are too steeped in tradition.
Sadly, we will likely see more failures among our people both in the ministry and in the pew. I can fall flat on my face and weep until there are no more tears over this.
How much more must we go through before we are willing to lay aside our cold hearts and help our fallen brothers.
Why must it come home to us before we are willing to listen. Those who love enough will begin to rise to meet this challenge.
We just cannot lose any more of those who are so precious to us without a fight.
Restoration will be a part of the end-time Revival, if we are going to have one.
First published: February 16, 2010.
~ Robert Blackburn