It goes without saying that we will all "slip up" now and again - regardless of how committed we are to following the scriptures. We are human, will always have a human nature while here on this earth, and we do human things based on what this nature wants. We feel guilty almost immediately when we do them, but we didn't stop short of actually acting upon those urges whatever they were. When we do "slip up", we want the encouragement of someone to come alongside us to help us pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and get moving again. We don't want another person to judge us for our misdeeds - we all know too well how many people there are out there who do this without even being asked! Learning to be the kind of individual who "helps make that person right again" is indeed something we all need to learn.
Brothers and sisters, someone in your group might do something wrong. You who are following the Spirit should go to the one who is sinning. Help make that person right again, and do it in a gentle way. But be careful, because you might be tempted to sin too. Help each other with your troubles. When you do this, you are obeying the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to do this, you are only fooling yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Just look at your own work to see if you have done anything to be proud of. You must each accept the responsibilities that are yours. (Galatians 6:1-5 ERV)
Looking at this passage closely, we can observe a couple of important points:
- Everyone is subject to failure. To think we can live without failure is to never live! If we are breathing and possess a heartbeat, we are going to stumble on occasion. If we believe it is possible to live "sinless" and "perfect" lives, we are probably deluding ourselves. We might set that as our goal, but we are still going to struggle with pride periodically, indulge in some kind of pity-party when we don't get things just as we wanted them, or the like. If these are the worst of our sins, so be it, but they are still "stumbles" and we will still need to find our way out of them!
- Believers (people following the Spirit) must not see coming alongside one who has fallen as interfering. As long as we have a relationship established with that individual, we can feel free to go to them, stand with them, and help them get back up. This is the important part of this passage - the relationship part. We just don't want to randomly pick individuals - we need to have been established in relationship for a while, able to share from the depths of our heart, and be trusted by that individual. For trust to be established, there have to be some key factors, but most of the time when we are willing to be "transparent" with others, they begin to trust us to be real, keep it real, and help them be real.
- We are to be gentle in our approach to another's failures. There is nothing worse than being approached in a judgmental, or prideful manner. It isn't us lording it over another - but rather us associating with the commonality of their failure. All of us struggle with generally the same stuff, just in different ways based upon our own make-up. When we approach another, we must look inward first - being sure we aren't just finding fault with them other person because we see the same thing in them we just refuse to see in ourselves.
- Part of restoration is accepting responsibility for our "slip ups". Whenever we slip and fall, part of getting back up again is our willingness to admit to the slip up - to "own" it. It isn't someone else's responsibility to assign "ownership" to our sin. It is ours. When we begin to see another stepping in to help us up again as being there to help us see our "part" in the failure, we might just welcome their help even more. As painful as it may be to own up to our failures, it is harder to hide them under the guise of another person being wrong! Just sayin!