June 14, 2012

Step Three: Gently Restore

1 Samuel 25:23-35

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently.
—Galatians 6:1


Do you know the story of Abigail, one of the wisest women in the Bible? The account of her encounter with David in 1 Samuel 25 is very interesting. David, his life threatened by King Saul, gets disrespected by Abigail’s foolish husband, Nabal. With hate in his heart David musters his fighting men to punish this rich rancher. Abigail learns of her husband’s insult and intercepts David with humble and gracious words. She reminds him that he needs to leave revenge in the hands of the Lord, who appointed him to be a righteous king. David listens and praises God for her intervention. He tells her to go home in peace.

The Bible tells us that we have a responsibility to speak to others about their wrongdoing. That’s not easy! What if they don’t listen? What if they say, “Who are you to tell us what to do?” That’s why we must be gentle, not harsh, when approaching each other. Our purpose must be conviction, not condemnation. If a person continues down a path of disobedience, they are departing from any usefulness to God and are on the way to self-destruction.

The move to restore someone takes great courage and wisdom. But God wants to supply both. Why would we not want to rescue that person and repair their relationship with the Lord and with others?

Lord, give me strength and gentleness so I may lovingly confront those who sin and assure them of forgiveness if they will repent. Motivate me by your mercy. Amen.

About the author — David Zandstra

David Zandstra is a retired pastor living in Marietta, Georgia, having served five churches from New Jersey to California. Along with other ministries, he counsels clients of a pregnancy resource center. He acknowledges his indebtedness to the training and resources of Peacemaker Ministries. David and his wife, Margie, have three children and six grandchildren.

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