October 21, 2009

Restoring yet Respecting

Galatians 6:1-5

If someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently.
Galatians 6:1


English poet John Donne wrote, “No man is an island.” We need to realize we are all members of a larger community.

No believer in Christ should think she is totally independent of others. No Christian should ever think he is on his own.

As in a family, relationships in the body of Christ— the church—function best when there’s a deep-felt awareness and concern for others, even while maintaining healthy boundaries. The common good requires our working to restore relationships that are broken by sin— and doing so with a spirit of gentleness and self-awareness. Whatever sin a person is guilty of, we must not boast, “That would never happen to me!” Such pride is the first step toward a mighty fall.

Ahumble, gentle inquiry such as “How may I help?” or “How may I pray for you?” can be the beginning toward gaining someone’s confidence without interfering. People need privacy, even when being helped in a sinful situation. Gentle restoration demands respecting the person as one of God’s imagebearers and allowing personal privacy. Different people have different needs in terms of their personal space. Healthy relationships allow for various needs. After all, each one of us is unique. And we all have burdens to bear.

Jesus, thank you for the example of compassion you showed as you touched people’s lives. Help me to respect others also as creatures made in your image. Amen.

About the author — George Vink

Pastor George Vink has served as a pastor in the Christian Reformed Church for more than 30 years in British Columbia, Montana, Michigan, and California. He and his wife, Shirley, have four married sons and nine grandchildren.

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