“Stan,” I said one morning, “I saw something the other day I wished I had not seen, but I did, I can’t get it out of my mind, and I don’t know what to do about it.”
“Wow!” Stan replied. “Big mystery. You want to share it with me?”
“I do,” I said. “I would like to talk about it, but no names, and with your confidentiality.”
“You got it,” Stan replied. “What’s going on?”.
“Well,” I began, “I was over at Drake Park on Adams Street last Saturday, 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 seemed to me to clearly show a relationship not appropriate for a married man.”
“And you’re wondering what, if anything, you should do?” Stan asked.
“That’s right,” I replied. “I know his wife. 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. Approach him the way the apostle Paul wrote about in his letter to the Galatian church.”
“Paul wrote about that?” I asked.
“He did,” Stan replied. “He put it in terms of restoration with ‘a spirit of gentleness’.”
“But” he continued, “first of all, I think you should spend time in prayer about this. Seek what God would have you do. Follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in letting this friend know that you only have his best interests in mind.”
“But what happens,” I asked, “if I do all of that and it turns out I am concerned about nothing. What if there is just a simple explanation for what I think I saw.”
“That would be great,” Stan replied, “but if there is something, and your friend listens and it makes a difference, that may be even greater! If there is something and he doesn’t listen or it doesn’t make a difference, you will, I think, have done what you should do. Attempt gentle restoration.”
Bible verses to consider:
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.
What do you desire? Shall I come to you with a rod or with love and a spirit of gentleness? 1 Corinthians 4:21.
Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. Matthew 5:5.
But the fruit of the Spirit is . . . gentleness . . . Galatians 5:22-23.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, for your provision of restoration so I have the assurance of spending eternity in your presence when it’s time. Thank you, too, for all of the ways you restore me with gentleness when I wander away from you. I confess that there are too many times when I deal with others with less than the sprit of gentleness you intend for me. Please forgive that foolish approach to living the life you have given me to live for you. Please help me in following every step of your lead so I am the gentle person you intend in every aspect of my life, especially in helping to restore others in their relationship with you. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Think on this: Have you been restored in your relationship with God in the sense that you know you will spend eternity in His presence? If no, why have you not accepted His free and gracious provision? If you do have the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing when it is necessary to restore another person? Is it with a sprite of gentleness or something less? If you sense the need for change in how you seek to restore others, how is that change going to occur? Is that what you want? Why or why not?