Today, during my quiet time with God, I was reading from Galatians 6, concerning the responsibility we have before God to carry the burdens of others. This passage also talks about the duty we have to conduct ourselves according to the great Vindicators guidelines. Good stuff that I want to share with my readers today, so here we go. Note: Not all of the passage from Galatians 6:1-10 is shown below, so for the rest of the story you might want to read the text in its entirety on your own.
“Dear brothers and sisters, if another Christian 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. Share each other’s troubles and problems, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone in need, you are only fooling yourself…Be sure to do what you should…and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else…For we are each responsible for our own conduct…Don’t be misled. Remember that you can’t ignore God and get away with it. You will always reap what you sow! Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful desires will harvest the consequences of decay and death. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So don’t get tired of doing what is good. Don’t get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time.” Portions of wisdom from Galatians 6:1-10 NLT
Some of you may have experience with the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. I do not belong to AA, but I do know how the 12 steps function. As I was reading this passage from Galatians 6, my mind kept returning to those steps (a method for achieving sobriety and victory over addiction). I once heard someone at an open meeting share how important it is for those of us who love addicts to take care; lest we be persuaded into thinking that we can bring them recovery without the strength of the group. This person wisely pointed out that it is far easier to be sucked in by the lure of addiction and sympathy for the addict when we go it alone. Tough love is needed many times to help addicts see their condition in the light of reality. When we use the power of the group to meet the need, we don’t get burned out trying to be their “everything”. How right she was, and it works the same way in the church.
Being a people pleaser as I am, it is my natural inclination to want to help others. I think God would applaud that tendency. However, when I try to offer assistance that shuts the church out, I’ve gone too far afield. Many problems are too big for one person to solve alone. Besides, it is my heartfelt belief that the church was created, in part, so that we might never have to face the troubles of life alone. If we are a part of the body of Christ, we always have a friend in Jesus.
Today, and perhaps just for today (since I am a sinner saved by grace, and prone to wander), I am content to hear the word of God concerning the responsibility I have for myself and others and pull back from the belief that I can make that other person better by myself. It’s not my job and even if it were, I couldn’t do it the way God can. I can pray, I can teach and I can gently and humbly approach others with my thoughts about what is appropriate in the family of God, but I cannot make someone who doesn’t want to change, change. To believe I could, would be spiritual insanity, and while I might admit to being a bit neurotic in some ways, I’m not all the way to insane yet.