Last week we left off talking about Galatians 6:1 which says, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” As Christians, we have a divine mandate to help others in the faith who are struggling with sin. There is no doubt that it can be very difficult to confront a brother or sister who has obviously erred from the faith, but the writer of Proverbs 27:6 reminds us, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”
Think about it for a moment, who loves you more? Is it the one who simply allows you to walk the wrong way or the one who has the guts to tell you you’re going the wrong way? It reminds me of a time when I worked as a manager of a warehouse in my younger days. I had a competition with the forklift drivers as to who could come up with the best safety slogan. The winner was, “Stop Stupid!” There is a lot of wisdom in those words.
We also see in 1 Corinthians 5 where the Apostle Paul dealt with a problem of one of the younger men in the church who was having a sexual relationship with his stepmother. The church simply would not address the issue and was actually kind of proud of themselves for not dealing with it. Paul rebuked them pretty strongly and told them to throw the young man out of the church. Later, we see in 2 Corinthians that he repented and Paul once again had to intercede and ask them to restore him. Even the early church had a problem with church discipline. Of course, today it is virtually unheard of. To even try to discipline someone today makes you the bad guy. They would probably even try to sue you!
Jesus also dealt with the issue of restoration and the proper steps required in Luke 17:3-4 when he said, “Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.” The key to forgiveness and restoration is repentance.