“The church I’m a part of,” Stan began, “is facing a tough decision.”
“About what?” I asked.
“The building where we meet,” Stan replied, “is old and just about ready to fall down. We need to make a decision about what to do with it.”
“What are the choices?”
“Well,” Stan responded, “some of the people think we should just knock it down. Bring in a wrecking ball and destroy it. Others think it’s worth saving and should be restored. This is going to be put to a vote in a few weeks.”
“You have any thoughts about it?” I asked.
“About the building,” Stan replied, “I could go either way. It’s the church body, not the building, that’s important to me.”
“And,” he continued, “this whole matter has opened me to focus on what the apostle Paul said about dealing with the other people who make up the church body.”
“In what way?” I asked.
“In Paul’s letter to the church in Galatia,” Stan said, “he wrote about the need to restore with gentleness another believer who may have done something wrong.”
“To me,” Stan continued, “this is clear instruction that if I find that one of my fellow believers has strayed into sin, if he or she has gone down a path away from God, I am not to attack that person with a wrecking ball of criticism. No, I am to seek to restore that person with gentleness.”
“Harshness like a wrecking ball,” Stan concluded,” serves no good purpose other than tearing down, while gentle restoration can have a beautiful ending; whether we are talking about a building or a life.”
Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness. Galatians 6:1.
But the fruit of the Spirit is . . . gentleness. Galatians 5:22, 23.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you restored me and my relationship with you by your free and gracious gift of salvation through the finished work of Jesus. Because of my acceptance of your provision by faith, I look forward to spending eternity in your presence when it’s time. Thank you, too, that you restore me through the gentleness of the Holy Spirit when I wander away from you. Please, Father, lead me in that same spirit of gentleness in all of my dealings with fellow believers. Lead and help me to follow in not being critical like a wrecking ball that will serve no purpose other than possibly destroying what you are building in and through another person. Help me to build up, not tear down. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Have you ever experienced what felt like a “wrecking ball” of criticism, when you would have preferred some gentle restoration? If so, what did that feel like? Have you ever been unnecessarily critical of another person, when gentle restoration would have been a better approach? Have you accepted God’s provision for being restored to Him for eternity? If not, why? If you have accepted that provision, do you sense the gentle restoration of the Holy Spirit as you pursue a deeper relationship with God, but may wander off of the path He intends? If so, what does that feel like? Do you think you are to show that same gentleness with others who may wander?