“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.” Galatians 6:1
This week we’ve explored the difference between judgment and discernment. We’ve reminded ourselves of why we are called to shine light in dark, sinful places rather than pound a gavel out of noisy, hypocritical judgment. But how do we go about shining that light? Using that discernment for the benefit and the growth of others?
First things first. We must, as Jesus says in Matthew 7:5, take the log out of our own eye, and then we will see clearly to take the speck out of our brother’s eye. Easier said than done. Recently I read a book called Parenting Scripts. This book promised to help me with scripts to train, love, discipline my children, etc. I was surprised to find that the whole first chapter was about us parents looking inward, checking our own sin, and asking Jesus to mature us, change us, and grow us. I was immediately convicted by this quote: “Invite the Lord of heaven and earth to speak to your heart about your own fit-throwing tendencies.”
See, we mustn’t share discernment with others without first asking the Lord who sees all to illuminate the areas in our own lives where we are in the wrong, where we are caught in sin. We need the discernment as much as the person we are seeking to .
To speak into another person’s life, we should have a relationship with them. Seeing the speck in our brother’s eye necessitates a closeness, a walking together in life and relationship. We should seek to gently and patiently give what is needed and useful according to the maturity of the person.
And finally, we have the goal of restoration as a guiding mindset. The goal is not to accuse or belittle. The goal is to restore. To Jesus. To His way and to His heart.
Today, I invite you to a prayer of examen. First, give thanks to God for His blessings and gifts. Next, ask Him for the grace to know your sins and root them out. Then move into a time where you review the current day (or yesterday) and think through your thoughts, words, and actions.
Ask God to forgive you of your sins and resolve to amend any rift in relationships with the help of His grace. Out of this posture, spend some time praying for someone who has been making life choices contrary to Jesus’ best for them. Pray for mercy in their life situation and yours.
By Ellen Rosenberger