“Gentleness, in word and deed, is the defining characteristic of the Spirit’s guidance.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – December 22, 2022
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
To be human is to be broken and in need of healing. Yes, we are made in the image of God and have the potential to radiate his glory through lives of holiness and love, yet we continue to bear the burdens of this world and are weighed down by many concerns, and this weight leads us to make decisions that fail to reflect the glory for which we were made. As such, the Christian life is one of ongoing repentance, seeing our sins for what they are, and seeking the healing touch of the Lord to once again make us whole.
St. Paul in Galatians 6 speaks to the reality of one’s own sin and the sins of others. If we’re honest, it’s much easier to focus on someone else’s shortcomings than our own! In truth, finding someone else’s sins that we perceive to be greater and more severe than our own is often a way to justify and trivialize our sickness. “Well, at least I’m not like that!” we say with an air of smug moralism. Interestingly, this awareness of the shortcomings of others is born, not out of a heart of compassion that longs to see them set free, but from inordinate self-love that keeps “me” at the center of every story.
If you are aware of the sins of another, before entangling yourself in their situation, be ruthless in assessing your motives! Why are you inserting yourself in their story? Interestingly, Paul doesn’t invite the entire community to go to the person “caught in any transgression,” but instead you who are spiritual. You who submit your lives to the daily guidance of the Holy Spirit can be trusted with the sacred work of restoration. And as anyone who has been on the receiving end of such a ministry can attest, the sign of the Spirit’s work in this situation is the spirit of gentleness that pervades the process from beginning to end.
Gentleness, in word and deed, is the defining characteristic of the Spirit’s guidance. It is one thing to see the faults of another. And in fact, these shortcomings are often on display for all to see! Yet when we see someone in their sin and sickness, yet look on them not with judgment or anger but a heart filled with tenderness and love, this is nothing less than the transforming love of God at work in our hearts, enabling us to be agents of healing to others.
Father, lead us by your Spirit into lives of gentleness and tender affection for others, even when they are at their worst, we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Identify key areas of your life that lack a gentle spirit, and ask the Lord to transform you by his grace.
Psalm 18:35; Galatians 5:22–23; Ephesians 4:1–3
Good Shepherd Collective ft. Paul Zach: Come All You Weary
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