Side by Side
by Pastor Aaron Adame
We’ve all had that experience of moving something too heavy or large for one person. And it's in those moments you look for someone to come and assist. We've all have had these moments, and there is no shame in asking for help. Furthermore, every believer experiences situations in life where they need the help of a fellow believer—when they are caught in a sinful snare and trap of the enemy. It’s a daily battle—this fight against the flesh and abiding in the Spirit.And there are times when the ground is overtaken by temptation. And like an army being overrun, we look for reinforcements to aid in the fight. This is when our fellowship as believers takes on a whole other level of love and relationship through accountability.
Paul writes in Galatians 6, “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. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ“ (Galatians 6:1–2 ESV). This exhortation is a realistic experience. Anyone who has walked with Christ for any amount of time knows how true and real this is. Of course, we’ve all been in those situations where the person doesn’t want help. They would rather continue doing what they are doing and make excuses for it or minimize its presence in their lives. Paul’s words here assume that the person caught in the trespass is honest, repentant, and broken over their sin—but their sinful pattern has made them weak spiritually. And so, Paul gives a few short words to help his readers understand how to act in this situation. What to Do The main thing Paul says here is to restore. It is so easy for us to condemn when someone makes a mistake. When we do this, it’s because we have forgotten our own fragility, which is why Paul reminds us to keep watch on ourselves. Instead of condemnation, we need to pray that God would keep us from the same temptation. We also can’t avoid. Passivity and neglect are not the alternative option. Often times, in order to avoid a difficult situation or conversation, we don’t do what we ought to do. Nor should we gossip and spread the news to others. Again, what Paul commends is to restore the repentant, broken, and weakened person back to spiritual health. That word restore means to put back into alignment, like a doctor would reset a broken bone. Who Should Do It Paul says, “those who are spiritual.” Paul is talking about those who are “led by the Spirt” and “walk in the Spirit.” Most likely, Paul is referring to the leaders in the church; however, he doesn’t specify, which means Paul intends for all mature believers to be engaged in the ministry of restoration. Paul defines what true spiritual maturity looks like. Humbly come alongside someone, and being willing to put yourself in uncomfortable and awkward situations and conversations, all the while knowing the vileness of sin and the remedy of grace. How Should It Be Done Sometimes, it isn’t what you say but how you say it that makes the biggest difference. Things like tone, body language, word choice, in-person vs over the phone or text message—all of these things influence a situation, for better or worse. Paul encourages those who are spiritual to restore “in a spirit of gentleness; keeping watching over yourself, lest you too be tempted.” Gentleness is born out of a great sense of one’s own spiritual weakness. Only the person who has truly come to grips with their own depravity and superiority of God’s grace in human weakness can sympathize and empathize with someone caught in sin. As you read this article, perhaps you are aware of someone that is struggling through a situation. Someone you know, someone you are close with. If you have that relationship, seek loving restoration. Part of our fellowship with one another is helping each other to stay the course Christ has set for all of us. Or, perhaps you find yourself in the unfortunate situation where you personally are the one struggling and you need help. It’s not shameful to ask for help and confess to others who care about you. Seek the help of the mature believers in your life and allow them to walk side by side with you through the struggle.