I got a call this weekend from someone who was going through a rough patch and succumbed to temptation. They reached out to me and a couple of others for help. One of the others and I went to meet them to offer guidance and next steps. It would have been easy to go over there, beat them on the head with a Bible and ask a lot of “why” questions. That’s not how God says we should handle these situations though.
As I drove over there, The Lord took me to Galatians 6:1 that says, “Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path.” My mind changed from all the “how could you” questions to the “how can I help you” questions. I moved away from the accusatory mindset that saw all the steps leading to sin to one that was there to show the path to forgiveness.
The Lord had spoken the same thing to my friend who went with me. He opened up the conversation with, “We’re here to help you, not to condemn you.” He went to Romans 13:12 that says, “So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living.” We explained that there is not one of us who is perfect. None of us go without sinning. What sets us apart is that we remove those sins and step back into God’s light.
I read Proverbs 24:16 that says, “The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again.” I explained that if we’re not able to get up on our own, we should do what they did and call others to help them. I reiterated that we were not there to hold them down, but to offer a helping hand up. I’m sure they had already beat themselves up over it and that the Holy Spirit had convicted them. The problem was that they didn’t know the way back to the right road.
I’ve been thinking all weekend about how many people fall and just stay down because they don’t know how to reach out for help or are just too embarrassed to. I’ve been there. I was ashamed and embarrassed because I knew better. I didn’t want to admit that I had messed up and gone in the wrong direction. I didn’t want to let others know that I didn’t have the strength to get back up and that it was easier to just stay down. Thankfully someone saw me there and offered a hand to get me back up.
Who do you know right now that has fallen? Have you gone to them and offered a helping hand or just talked about them to others? Our command is clear. We are to go and restore someone in that condition. We are to pray with them and give them the tools and safeguards they need to keep them from falling again. When they fall, go and put your arm around them and walk with them. Isn’t that how you would want to be treated if it were the other way around?