Summary: Caring for others is a very personal matter... personal for the other and for oneself.
Title: How to Help Someone Who Blows It
Text: Galatians 6:1-10
Thesis: Caring for others is a very personal matter.
Sometimes it is challenging when we try to care for other people.
A teacher in a Christian academy in west Texas was helping one of her kindergarten students put on his cowboy boots? He asked for help, and she could see why. Even with her pulling and him pushing, the little boots still didn’t want to go on. By the time they got the second boot on, she had worked up a sweat. She almost cried when the little boy said, "Teacher, they’re on the wrong feet." She looked, and sure enough, they were.
It wasn’t any easier pulling the boots off than it was putting them on. She managed to keep her cool as together they worked to get the boots back on, this time on the right feet. He then announced, "These aren’t my boots." She bit her tongue rather than get right in his face and scream, "Why didn’t you say so?"
Once again, she struggled to help him pull the ill-fitting boots off his little feet. No sooner had they gotten the boots off when he said, "They’re my brother’s boots. My mom made me wear ’em." Now she didn’t know if she should laugh or cry, but she mustered up what grace and courage she had left to wrestle the boots on his feet again.
Helping him into his coat, she asked, "Now, where are your mittens?" He said, "I stuffed ’em in the toes of my boots."
People who blow it can get by if they have a little help from their teachers, parents, siblings, children, members of their faith community, and their friends…
It may come as a shock to some of us but the fact of the matter is, Christians are capable of sinning. Good people can think, say, and do bad things. In addition to that, Christians and non-believers alike are capable of making really poor decisions that may or may not fall into the category of sinful practice but which may most certainly be defined as mistakes, failings, or shortcomings. Christian goof up. Christians blow it.
When one of us blows it… it is good to know that we are surrounded by sympathetic and loving family members, friends, and a faith community that will be supportive – no matter what.
The bible, speaking of those in the faith community, clearly states that “if we say we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” I John 1:8
So it is, if we can identify with the one who has blown it, we will be gentle.
I. Be Gentle!
If someone is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently… help that person back onto the right path. Galatians 6:1
Mel Gibson, as Riggs and Danny Glover, as Murtaugh, made quite a team over the years as the main characters in the Lethal Weapon series. At some point in every story of the series, Riggs would manage to dislocate his shoulder… which he would then reset himself by slamming himself into a wall.
On the athletic field a player will sometimes dislocate a finger and one of the trainers will give the finger a jerk to get the knuckle back in place. On the playground a child may break his arm and in the emergency room, doctors will set the arm before putting it into a cast.
This physical concept of resetting or restoring what was once dislocated and broken to it’s original position or place, is transferable as a relational concept. It may be applied to our families, our neighborhoods, our workplaces, and to our church faith community.
Being overcome by a sin may take many forms. It may take the form of a criminal act, failure of moral character, a slip of the tongue, a poor decision that hurts oneself and affects others. It may take the form of falling “off-the-wagon” so to speak. It may be a deliberate, calculated act or it may be an impulsive and reckless act.
We in the faith community do not always respond to people who blow it well… Amber Kimber, Senior Minister of the First United Methodist Church in Lodi, California, notes that dislocations are painful and even when the limb is popped back into the socket where it belongs, the pain and swelling can linger. Perhaps that is why we often prefer to alienate and amputate rather that relocate dislocated people. Homiletics Magazine. July 2007. P 24
In our families and in the Christian community our goal is to restore people and bring them back into the family and faith community.
The business of resetting or restoring needs to be done gently and graciously and with a spirit of humility.