As we do our God ordained job of confronting a brother or sister in need of rescuing, we must be gentle. Out of love for them and love for their soul we must go to them delivering the entire truth, but we must do so in a way that pleases the Lord.
I was recently reminded about the time I went fishing with my sons.
I must admit I am someone who gets grossed out very easily. Touching bugs, snakes, and sadly even fish, grosses me out a bit.
But not my oldest son. Unlike his dad, he’s courageous when it comes to touching animals. But it was his tender care that really struck me that day.
Like most children he has a soft spot in his heart for animals. He doesn’t like stepping on bugs and would rather relocate them than exterminate them. When we caught the fish, we had a dilemma. We weren’t going to keep him. So, we had agreed that if we caught something we would remove the hook and throw him back in the water. My son wanted to be the one to remove the hook. Probably because he thought I would do it as quickly as possible (to minimize the contact with the fish) and would not do it well.
So, against all odds I caught a fish. It wasn’t a huge guy, but it was big enough to have had his mouth caught on the hook.
I watched as my son, who had never done it before, carefully and gently remove the hook from the mouth of the fish. He had to manage to keep the fish’s mouth open, and gently push the hook down deeper in his mouth, in order to cause the least amount of damage as possible. And he did it with such tenderness and such care that it moved me emotionally.
Not too long after that I preached Galatians 6:1.
Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness…
And immediately I was reminded about my son and that fish.
It is imperative to confront.
Too many Christians are scared to say something. They don’t want to get their hands dirty. They don’t want to ruin a relationship. They don’t want to do the hard work of church discipline or help a brother or sister overcome an addiction. Or they don’t want to even do the work of keeping a brother or sister accountable. Too many Christians are cowardly when it comes to the vital task of confrontation.
Maybe they think it is the pastor’s job. Maybe when they read this verse and see the word spiritual, they think it’s talking about super Christians or Christians who’ve been saved for decades. But the clear meaning of the text is talking about a person who possesses the Holy Spirit. In other words, anyone who is saved and walking in obedience to scripture.