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Bolstered

 If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. (Galatians 6:2)

Maybe this passage should read, "WHEN someone falls..." It would probably read more accurately as we ALL fall from time to time and need restoration without criticism for having fallen. The 'fallen' fall - it is that simple. The 'not so simple' part is this business of 'forgivingly restoring the fallen'. How easy it is to be critical of those around us who are struggling to live an upright life. The rest of the passage is pretty much the summary of why we need to reserve our criticisms - we are likely to need forgiveness before the day ends! Mom always used to tell me it takes one to know one - meaning we recognize those struggling with our same issues / faults because those faults bother us so much in ourselves. We dial-in on those same things in others that we seem to know we could be equally as critical of in ourselves. 

If we don't want to endure the criticism for our failures or faults, what makes us think it is ever acceptable to criticize others who are going through similar struggles? Stop for a moment to consider the meaning of criticism - it is a form of denouncing something and condemning the one engaged in the thing we find are criticizing. That is exactly why we don't want to engage in criticism - we are in no position to denounce and condemn anyone because we would be denouncing and condemning ourselves because of our equally 'wrong' behavior! Lovingly forgive - how on earth do we do this? I think it begins with learning how much we are forgiven ourselves and then realizing that forgiveness is never deserved. It is a 'loving gift' from our heavenly Father. 

To restore has a few meanings, but the main one is to 'bring back' to a former condition (untarnished, whole, and complete). Do you know 'to restore' also means to reinforce and strengthen? When we forgive, we are beginning the work of restoration - lovingly reinforcing and strengthening the character of the other person without any criticism for having fallen. Fallen creatures need a little 'reinforcing and strengthening' from time to time - if we could stand on our own, would we have fallen? Restoration also carries the idea of being renewed - not just made new, but improved upon. Maybe God intends for us to come alongside each other - to help each other up, but also to ensure we receive the 'reinforcement' to help us avoid falling again. Just sayin!

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