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“"Keeping Careful Watch"”
But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.
Thoughts for Today:
In our previous passage, Paul instructed, "If someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently." However, the question remains: How should we actually deal with those who have fallen? To begin answering this question, let's first look at the church as a hospital. If we walked through the doors of a hospital and observed floors covered with trash, bedpans overflowing and filthy, stained and unclean bed linens, and with every piece of equipment in a general state of disrepair, we might ask, "How do you keep infection from spreading?" And we should be concerned if the answer was, "We aren't worried about keeping things clean. We're just trying to help people." Most of us know this is a formula for disaster. In the same way that a hospital would do more harm than good by allowing infection to spread by overcapacity and neglect, the church must also protect itself by being especially cognizant of any set of circumstances that would allow disease to spread throughout our congregations.
The same is true for us personally as we approach a situation involving a brother or sister who is caught up in sin. We must keep careful watch upon ourselves and not exceed our capacity or capability. Why? Because if we don't (as Paul warns in our passage today), we may also be tempted and fall into sin. So whenever I'm helping a person struggling with sin, I pay special attention to what I'm thinking. If any of my thoughts drift away from simply displaying and being an instrument of Christ's love, I halt my involvement and reset my focus upon the Lord. And if this becomes too difficult, I then know it is a situation that is best for me to avoid no matter how great the need may appear to be.
Questions to Ponder:
The possibility of temptation is no excuse to not invest in the life of a struggling brother or sister. However, it is something to be aware of as we become more deeply involved. Are you paying attention? In what ways do you need to be careful?
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About the author
Pocket Devotions are written by Mike Brooks. A retired businessman, he is Moderator of South Shores church, leads the Deacon Board, serves on the finance committee, and he teaches a Men's Bible study and the Men's Ministry. Mike has a passion for evangelical missions. He is the husband of Sherry; the father of Ryan, Natalie, Krissy, Rebecca, and Amanda; the father-in-law of Ariel; and the grandfather of Conner and Christian.