Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Christian Bystanders

"Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one IN A SPIRIT OF GENTLENESS, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.  Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.  For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself." - Galatians 6:1-3

We have become Christian by-standers, watching as others fall into sin and the consequences of sin.  We say that we're "not supposed to judge" and let that being our excuse to not get involved, to not come to the aid of our brother and sister when they are struggling.  But that is not the way a body, the body of Christ, connected by love, is to behave!
We have made the problems of others common entertainment.  "Did you hear about sister so-in-so?" "You'll never believe what I heard about brother ....." "I cannot believe they've allowed their lives to get into such a mess!"  Maybe its time to stop running our mouths, and check back in as a member of the body again.  In the Body of Christ, there "should be no schism in the body" (1 Corinthians 12:25), no division.  If you find that members of that body are struggling - check yourself.  Spiritually, you're struggling too.  The body does not grow sick in a single member.  If we live out the love of Christ, being ONE as He prayed for us to be, we would all live in His Power.  We cannot look at the problems of one as if that member of the body could be amputated and the Body of Christ become whole again.  We are all connected, all given a purpose.  If one member suffers, all the members suffer with them (1 Corinthians 12:26). 

When we see someone struggling, "overtaken in any trespass", we are to step in and "restore" them, helping them come back to the previous state.  Those living with addictions are to be broken from the bondage they are under.  Those suffering physical/verbal/mental abuse are to be restored to power and removed from abusive relationships.  Those suffering from rejection are to be loved.  Those suffering from financial failure are to be made prosperous.  Those dealing with depression are to be restored to joy.  When we see any issue that is overtaking them, reducing their effectiveness and power in the body, we MUST step in!  Brothers and Sisters, if your own body were having an ailment in one of it's members, you would rush to the doctor to be restored.  The body of Christ should receive the same urgent care when one of its members is struggling.
I've often heard this verse read with a warning "considering yourself lest you also be tempted".  If you are walking in the Spirit, living out the life of Christ, why are you afraid of the temptation of sin?  Christ ate with sinners, touched leapers, befriended a prostitute.  The problem is not their sin, but your own disobedience and lack of confidence in the Spirit if you have to protect yourself from another member of the body.  Strengthen yourself, for the body must be made stronger.

Lastly, we are warned not to place ourselves on a pedestal, feeling as if we are above their problems.  If anyone thinks he is something, the truth is he is nothing but deceived.  "But for the grace of God, there go I" should be the only words uttered out of our mouths regarding the problems and obstacles of another in comparison to ourselves.  Gods grace, His mercy, and His blessings are all that separate us from the same painful problems.
God never called anyone to be a by-stander.  If we live out our calling, which is to love each other as we love ourselves, we cannot be a by-stander.

Spoken in love, with a broken heart for the suffering members of our body. 

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