Dear brothers and sisters, if one of you is caught in sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help restore that person. And watch yourself, that you don’t fall.
Here’s the practical instruction alluding to the troubles I’m guessing at. Love and restoration are the solution to bad incidents. This is what we should try to do. The perp’s response is not your problem. All you can do is try gently to help in love.
Your basic attitude needs to be:
“There, but by the grace of God, there go I.”
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load.
There is a lot in these four verses. First let us consider verses 2 & 5. You need to understand the difference between burden and load.
Burden & Load Comparisons
LOAD: Mother who is lazy and refuses to clean her house.
Helping her will hurt her.
BURDEN: Mother with extremely sick child in the hospital with children at home.
You should definitely help the mother with the sick child.
This is the lot you’ve been assigned. Your health, wealth, position, and so on. This is yours to deal with. It cannot be taken from you. It is your responsibility to carry it.
One of the problems we have as ministers is to determine loads. For example, several times over the years we have dealt with young men or women who have gotten themselves in trouble. The trouble keeps getting worse because their mother or father always bails them out—literally, emotionally, or physically.
Many times we have counseled the mother to leave her child in jail. We believed that the child had to pay the penalty for their behavior. They had earned it and delivering them from it really hurt their character development. However, the parent would almost never listen. This lifting of the load was the reason why the child had gotten so deeply in trouble in the first place. They never paid any penalty for bad behavior.
This is temporary situations that come into your life. A car accident, a tornado, a fire, and so on. We are expected to bear one another’s burdens. We are expected to help those in need. It is the loving thing to do.
Self examination: Verses 3 & 4 seem to be talking about something entirely different. One of the things we all need to be doing constantly is checking ourselves out to make sure we are not running in vain. Of course, we have to be careful to avoid navel gazing and narcissistic obsession. But we need to pray something like this:
“Lord, by your spirit, show me any ways I am lying to myself.” Simple prayers like that go a long way toward helping our growth in the Lord. Of course, you must be willing to hear what the Lord tells you—and it will probably not be pleasant. But Hey! Ya gotta do what ya gotta do to get clean—right?