November 3, 2016
In our culture you’ll hear someone say, “I love Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups” and in the next sentence say, “I love my wife” and then again, “I love my car and my job.” Do they all mean the same thing? No. Or, at least they shouldn’t! Without getting into the variety of Greek words used for “love” in the New Testament, I see the consequence of love found in these verses in Galatians.
First, in verse 1, I am encouraged to restore gently to the faith someone who is caught in sin. To do this I don’t need to beat them over the head with the Bible or the Law. I’m reminded of how Nathan brought the sin of adultery to King David’s attention. David confessed and was restored in God’s grace. The adulterous woman was brought the same grace as Jesus wrote in the dirt before the Pharisees. Peter, after the resurrection of Jesus, was restored in grace as well. The Bible is full of this restoration & love. Granted, this is easier to do once a person acknowledges their sin and confesses. Until then, we have an uphill battle. In fact, the latter half of that first verse reminds me that if I’m not careful, I can get pulled into the sinful acts myself.
Think of a person in a 15’ deep hole with another person up on the ground surface. A rope is tossed down by the person on top to the person in the hole. Which is easier: to pull the person up out of the hole or for the person in the hole to pull in the other? Oh, how many times I’ve pulled someone in with me. Oh, how many times I’ve been pulled in. And, oh, how many times have I ignored someone else throwing me a rope!
Other examples of love are seen as St. Paul reminds me to “bear each other’s burdens” (v. 2) and “to do good to all people, especially those who belong to the family of believers (v. 10).
There are times when we’ve sought to lend a helping hand to people who are in the world who have no desire for the Lord while at times ignoring, on accident perhaps, those within our own church family who are struggling. Somehow we think that people who are part of the church family have it all together. But one thing I know from being a pastor is that they don’t. There are lots of people, in lots of churches, who are struggling (financial, emotional, mental, physical and more). Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us not give up doing good.
PRAYER: Holy Spirit, continue Your work in our lives so that our lives lend a helping hand to those in need. Let us be thankful for the help You’ve given (and will give in our futures). May this all happen so You are glorified and souls are restored and saved. Amen.
(This recent photo is of one of my nephews . He’s a good kid whom I lift up in prayer for the Lord to bless and guide.)