Thursday, September 21, 2006

That could have been me

Brothers, if someone is caught in sin, you who are spiritual should restore him with a spirit of gentleness, looking to yourselves, because that could have been you.
Galatians 6.1
OK, the text doesn't exactly say that, but I think that's the point, isn't it? Someone caught cheating, lying, etc. -- whoever it is didn't wake up one day and say, "Today I'm going to embark on a course that will ruin my life and destroy everything important to me, wreaking havoc on those who love and trust me - a decision I'll regret for decades."

No, they slide away gradually. They don't pay attention to what's right and think a little too much about what the world owes them. That they're thinking "The Lord owes me this and that" doesn't occur to them, but that's their attitude. They meditate on how so-and-so wronged them, and forget how many times others have forgiven them.

How do I know all this? You only get one guess.

Another thing they do is they get tired. Take a look at this encouragement:
And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.
Galatians 6.9-10 (NASB, I think)
As my friend Jim says, the reason it's a command is that it's hard. If it were easy or natural to just keep on going, we wouldn't need a command here. But Paul gives us this command "Let us not lose heart..." and he gives a reason: good stuff will happen if we don't give up.

And in particular, "do good to all men" -- in the way that God sends sun to shine on the just and the unjust. So it's our privilege (and our responsibility) to reflect God's character to everyone we meet.

Which, if we walk by the Spirit, God will help us to do. I think there's a promise about that in Isaiah chapter 40, which we'll get to in the coming days.
written 9/21, posted 9/22

No comments: