Hey, Coach...over here!

Gonna meddle a bit this morning, but who doesn't meddle once in a while? How many times do we see someone struggling and then turn the other way, ignoring the struggle because it would get 'too messy' if we got in the middle of their muddle? How about the times we see someone about to jump off some cliff in life that you know will just leave them all messed up and we just shake our heads as we watch them take the leap? If we are to be honest here, we have all likely been in the position of seeing someone about to 'fall into sin' and then found it has become fodder for 'gossip' and 'poking fun' at that individual. Why do we point out the sin of others instead of stepping in to help them be restored? It could be us there one day, my friends. How would you like someone to respond if the tables were turned? Just a little food for thought here, but I think we all might like to have someone come to our aid rather than poke fun at our failure or find fault with our sin.

Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived. (Galatians 6:1 MSG)

God doesn't say, "If you feel like it today, why don't you step in and share the burdens of another." In fact, there is an imperative in this passage - we are give a few 'if - then' statements to consider AND act upon. IF someone falls - THEN forgivingly restore him. IF someone is oppressed and weighed down under the burden of life - THEN stoop down and help them out of the rut. IF their burden is great - THEN help them carry it. IF you think you are too good to do so - THEN you are badly deceived. Notice that I reminded us of the need to not only "consider" the condition of another, but to "ACT" to help them in their need. This is the way of God every time - condition exists and the need is met. Nothing in God's way of doing things ever relies upon us 'feeling like it'. In fact, most of his most fruitful actions in our lives are oftentimes in direct opposition to our feelings.

God calls us into relationship with each other because we desperately need each other's encouragement and even a little coaching from time to time. Encouragement would be defined as inspiring another by giving them approval. Coaching goes just a bit further because it encompasses instruction. God's requirement for us is to know when encouragement is enough, but then to go the extra mile when coaching is required. Sometimes I don't know how to handle a situation, or how to get myself out of the muddle I have made for myself. I need more than your encouragement - inspiring words, approval that I can get out of it - I need some downright help to know the way out! IF I need coaching - THEN be there to instruct me as you also are there to encourage me with each step I take.

Do you know what some who fall repeatedly need more than anything else? They need a coach! They need someone who will come alongside and do more than encourage them to 'live better'. They need to be shown how to live - how to take the first step that helps them be ready for the second one and then the third. Coaches actually help us 'train' - not just 'try'. Repeated failures are not fodder for gossip - they are fertile fields where a mighty harvest of new and developing faith is possible. That may be what God had in mind when he calls us to share the burdens of another - encourage them - but then go the extra mile to help them take the steps out of the muddle. Now, lest anyone think a coach is someone's conscience, let me set us all straight here - a coach knows how to instruct because they have already walked the path! The coach is able to instruct - not be someone's conscience - but assist another to find the right steps to take in order to move from where they are to where they need to be. Just sayin!

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