What’s Your Motive?
Read Galatians 6:1-2
“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
According to Paul in today’s verse, what should be our motivation for pointing out the sins of others?
Yesterday, we discussed the issue of judging others. We talked about making sure we are not being hypocritical and that we have dealt with our sins before we point out the sins of others. But the Bible is clear that we are to call out sin and address it. How do we confront the sins of others in a biblical manner?
In today’s verse, Paul told the Galatians that they should have a “spirit of gentleness” when confronting sin and the goal of the confrontation should be restoration. When Paul says “you who are spiritual,” he means believers who are more spiritually mature and are seeking to live according to God’s Word. Christians who are spiritually mature are less likely to be hypocritical in their dealings with the sins of others because they understand what Christ did for them regarding their own sins.
The motivation of our hearts when calling out the sins of others should always be to restore them to the Lord—to bring them back to right living. We should not criticize others for the sake of making ourselves look better. We shouldn’t be motivated by our own self-righteousness. We shouldn’t be motivated by hatred. Rather, because we love our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, we should point out their sin to them because we genuinely desire that they follow the Lord.
In 2 Thessalonians, Paul called some people out for the sin of idleness. These people were willing to take but they were not willing to work. Paul condemned this behavior and reminded them that people who are unwilling to work and contribute positively to the body of believers should not eat. This is how Paul advised the Galatians to deal with the idle people: “If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed. Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother” (2 Thessalonians 3:14-15). Paul was saying to stop financially supporting these people and stop associating with them until they repent and change their ways. But he made an important distinction. The idle believers were not enemies of the Galatians but brothers and sisters in Christ.
Friends, we are commanded to address sin in our own lives and in the lives of others. But our motivation matters. We are sinners ourselves so our goal should not be condemnation but restoration. Because we love our brothers and sisters in Christ, we should warn them of the consequences of their sin. It is not loving to allow someone you care about to persist in sinning against the Lord. Rather, it is loving to gently point out their sin, warn them of the dangers of their sins, and seek to get them back on the right track.
Lord, help me to walk alongside my brothers and sisters who are struggling with sin. You carried the burden of my sin for me, so I want to help others who are burdened with their sins. Help me restore them with a spirit of gentleness rather than condemnation. Amen.