Kicking people while they’re down

Living a real Christian life isn’t easy. It never has been, and it never will be because we live in a broken world and because we have two natures constantly warring inside us. Once we decided to follow Christ, we received the Holy Spirit. So we have God’s spirit in us. But that doesn’t get rid of our old imperfect desires either. So in a way, every Christian is bipolar. We are constantly in a war between our old self and the new self God has created in us.

So what happens when a Christian gives in to the old desires that he or she used to live by?

I’ve seen this happen a lot and most of the time Christians don’t react right. Maybe many of you know this from personal experience like I do, but Christians can be the meanest people on the planet. Wow! People who profess Christ as their Lord can be vicious — and not just to unbelievers but to others who profess Christ. To their brothers and sisters in faith. Sometimes Christians are more cruel to each other than we are to people who don’t believe. Personally, I feel that’s a big reason why those who choose not to believe stay away from us. Because if we can’t love each other, how could we love anyone else?

For Christians who stumble back into old sins, their Christian support groups usually turn on them. And even those Christian support groups that mean well still go about it the wrong way. They use guilt and manipulation. They preach and thump Bibles. And pretty soon the “offender” is so beaten down about the wrongs he or she has done. they have no joy left at all. All thanks to God’s loving people.

Is that the way it’s supposed to work?

The steps toward Tikal

The steps toward Tikal - Tikal, Peten, Guatemala

Not according to Galatians 6:1, which is today’s verse.

Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.

See how the Bible says we’re supposed to help? Gently and humbly.

The Amplified Version says it this way: without any sense of superiority and with all gentleness.

To me, it all goes back to the golden rule. We need to treat each other like we want to be treated. Put yourself in that “Fallen Christian’s” shoes. How would you feel if suddenly the people who said they would always support you turned their backs on you? How would you feel if someone kicks you while you’re down, when you’re already feeling guilty?

Hey, Christians. It’s not our job to make other people feel guilty. We aren’t the ones who are in charge of convicting people. That’s God’s job. Our job is to love people and live lives that point to Christ, and God will take care of the rest.  The rest is between that person and God. And when someone stumbles and falls back into sin, it’s our job to help them up again — not kick them in the ribs. And we’re to do it gently and humbly.

Why? Because it could be you.

The paths we walk in this world aren’t easy. It’s an uphill climb. It’s a tough battle everyday to live the kind of life we’re supposed to live. And it isn’t a matter of if you will fall; it’s a matter of when. You and I and any other Christian are just as fragile. We can fall any time, and we have no concept how far we can fall, how wrong we can be, how badly we can act, how sinful we can become. If we aren’t prepared, if we aren’t ready for temptation, if we aren’t armed to stand against it, we will fall. There’s no if involved.

And, yes, we need to be vigilant. We need to keep a watchful eye on ourselves to make sure we aren’t pulled into the same sin alongside the person we’re helping, but that’s another topic for another day. We are help others and we are to be gentle about it and humble, understanding that we’re all in the same boat.

We need to remember that when we encounter another Christian who has fallen, it could have been us.

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