Thursday July 7, 2005
When a Fellow Christian Stumbles
Believers sometimes make wrong choices that result in their stumbling on the path of faith. According to Paul, our responsibility is to help fallen brothers and sisters to get back on their feet.
Step One: Lead the believer to recognize his failure as sin.
Step Two: Verify that he accepts responsibility for his sin. It is easy to blame our wrongdoing on the influence of someone else, but the ultimate decision is always our own.
Step Three: Encourage the believer to confess and repent. True repentance is marked by a change of mind that results in a change of behavior.
Step Four: Instruct him to make restitution. For instance, if something was stolen, it must be paid back. If someone has been harmed emotionally or spiritually, that person’s forgiveness should be sought.
Step Five: Guide him to receive the message God is sending through failure. We often overlook the fact that God wants to communicate with us in our difficult time.
Step Six: Counsel the believer to respond to God’s chastisement with gratitude. This is a difficult step for anyone, but discipline always teaches more about our Father.
Our responsibility as brothers and sister is not to condemn but to restore with gentleness. We are to be sensitive to our fellow believers’ hurts and needs. And if we ourselves should ever stumble, we can expect others to lift us up in the same loving spirit.
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