If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
“When angry count to ten before you speak. If very angry, count to one hundred.” — Thomas Jefferson
There needs to be a parallel passage for Christians—something like, “When you encounter someone’s sin, meditate on ten of your own before you speak. If the sin is very offensive, meditate on one hundred.”
Practicing Christianity means practicing grace. The problem with this is that our sinful nature is essentially competitive, as is our society. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another.
This is not new. The Roman colosseum was a place where everyone could look down on gladiators, often wishing for their death. How on earth could something that mean and nasty become popular?
But look at all the modern TV shows that tap into the same emotions. Remember the Jerry Springer Show? How about Cops? “What ya’ gonna do? What ya’ gonna do? What ya’ gonna do when they come for you?” We love watching people fail.
And don’t make the excuse that we love seeing justice served. “America’s Most Wanted” was about justice. These shows were about entertainment.
So, Paul’s command here is important. Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.
Wait. Tempted? Tempted to what? How does this have anything to do with temptation?
It’s about the temptation to love watching people fail. Instead, Paul says, be a team. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Our mission is a team mission; focusing on selfish objectives wrecks everything. It’s like what Ben Franklin said during the American Revolution, “We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”
And, in addition to being counter-productive, not lifting up a fallen brother reflects a false self-image. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
Never forget who you are and what Jesus rescued you from.
This is easy to say (and write about) but hard to do. Spend some time thinking about on who you know that has been overtaken in any trespass.
What can you do to restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness?
These Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Weekend DEEPs are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.