A time of self-examination
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)
How many parents practice discipline? Whether it’s a time out or spanking or more modern forms of discipline, how many of us practice it? I would wager most, if not all, practice some form of discipline in order to train your child, so they will have a long and healthy life. Often, the ways we discipline children are for their own safety. We might say “Don’t put your hand on the stove” or “Don’t play in the street” or even “Don’t eat all that candy in one sitting.” These are intended to keep the child from harm and keep them healthy. We do not keep them from playing in the street because we don’t want them to have fun. It’s because we don’t want them to get hit by a car!
Many of us never look at our churches and think “this is what God has given me to discipline me.” Yet, this is what the Bible teaches. If we see someone living living a life that is harmful to themselves, we are told by Jesus in Matthew 18 to go to that person and call them to repentance. This does not give the church license, however, to bash people over the head. We should never call people to repentance with an attitude of superiority or wrath. Galatians 6 tells us we should do it in gentleness. It is for the same reason we tell a child not to play in the street. It is not because we hate someone, but it is because we love them and don’t want them to jeopardize their testimony and relationship with Christ. It is out of love and a spirit of gentleness. We are called to bear one another’s burdens. We are to call our brothers and sisters in Christ to holiness and godliness. In return, they are to call us to holiness and godliness. This is one way God shows his love to us. He gave us a group of people who will hold us accountable to the word of God and help bear our burdens in all gentleness and love.
This week, set aside a time of self-examination. See if there is a place in your life where you need help. Ask a fellow brother or sister in Christ to help bear that burden and ask if there is a burden they need help bearing.