“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” — Galatians 6:1
It was a pleasure getting to church yesterday morning to find out the pastor of the church I attended back in college was delivering the message Sunday. It was even more enjoyable that the passage he focused on was something that’s been rattling around my brain and sprinkled through some recent conversations. So, today I will have to let you in on some of my thoughts about transgression and the Christian’s responsibility to speak to them, or against them, and how.
Transgressions of anyone
“If anyone is caught in any transgression” is rather all-encompassing. There are no ‘if’s ‘but’s or ‘or’s, please make no mistake. There is no gray area left to the imagination or interpretation. These are the specifics and the generalities with which we’re dealing. There is no mention of ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, nothing. The concern, again, is anyone committing any transgression.
Transgression, brothers and sisters
“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.” Brothers here is referring to both men and women in the Church, and “you who are spiritual” further serves to refine that definition to those who walk in and rely on the Holy Spirit. Therefore, if you believe in the Holy Spirit and follow Christ, Paul is speaking to us. He is urging us in these words to restore any and everyone in any sort of transgression. It is not our job to pass along the news down the grapevine, but to restore this person lovingly. This latter part should be redundant, though.
Transgression in our response
Two things that Paul warns us against are responding harshly to “sin” and the restorer falling to transgression, also. I like catching people in sin and blowing it out of proportion in my mind. Honestly, it makes me feel like a better Christian. It allows me to gloss over my own glaring shortcomings. I know I’m not alone in this tendency, and Paul knew this to be human tendency. First of all, we must be aware of this and resist, friends. I won’t try to put words into Paul’s mouth when it comes to the restorer transgressing, but whether it’s committing a similar sin or becoming arrogant of their “sin-busting” ability, it’s still transgression and we’re susceptible. I don’t know what works for you, but the bottom line is again, we must be constantly in check with where our heart is.
We’ve all committed a transgression, sin, or two. We’ve all done things we’re not proud of. However, when we see it around us, it’s up to each and everyone of us to dust off our brothers and sisters and lovingly set them back on course. We’re not called to fix, merely to care. However, the responsibility is upon us all, each one. In love, we present the truth, and in love we gently help them back up. Carefully, we extend our hands to our brothers and sisters as equals, guarding against pride which can take us all down in one fell swoop.