224. Gentle Restoration

“Stan,” I said one morning, “I saw something the other day I wished I had not seen, but I did and I don’t know what to do about it.”

“You want to share this mystery with me?” he asked.

“I do,” I responded, “but without any names, and with your confidentiality.”

“You got it,” Stan said.

“Well,” I began, “I was over in the park on Adams Street, just enjoying the day when I saw a friend from my Bible study class walking with a woman I know was not his wife.  The way they were acting clearly showed a relationship that seemed improper for a married man.”

“And you are wondering what, if anything, you should do?” Stan asked.

“That’s right,” I replied.  “I know his wife pretty well.  Should I tell her?  Should I mention what I saw to anyone?”

“Do you know this fellow well enough to invite him to have lunch or a cup of coffee?”

“I do,” I responded.  “We are not close friends, but I do consider him a friend.”

“Then I suggest you do that.  Get together, one-on-one, and tell him gently what you observed.  Don’t come at him with big accusations about anything.  Certainly no “holier-than-thou” attitude, but talk with him with a gentle spirit, the way Jesus would.”

“Make certain, as much as possible, that the fellow knows that you only have his best interests in mind, nothing else.”

Continuing, Stan said, “Above everything else, bathe this matter with prayer.  Seek the Lord’s guidance.  Listen to His voice as to what you should and should not do and say.”

“Seek to gently restore your friend.  If he listens and it makes a difference, great!  If he does not listen or it does not make a difference, you will have done what was required.”

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Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted.  Galatians 6:1.

Prayer:  Lord, you know all of my failings.  And you know how much I could have been helped by a gentle spirit of restoration when the time for restoration was at hand, but there was no such spirit.  Please help me in helping others when such restoration is needed.  Help me, Lord, to be only who you intend for your purposes, never for purposes of my own that are apart from yours.  Help me in approaching whoever you bring before me in a spirit of gentleness that is the same that would be displayed by your Son.  Thank you that I can and do bring all of these prayers before you in His name.  Amen.

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