What if we exchanged the practice of judging others for the practice of helping? Our Christian community is not bound by legal relationships, but by relationships of love. How can we be helpful to one another? Galatians 6:1 offers a crash course in helping our brother or sister with the speck in his or her eye.
“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted” (Galatians 6:1, NIV).
Step 1: Get the facts straight. (…”if someone is caught in a sin”…)
Step 2: Make sure your own house is in order. (…”you who live by the Spirit…”)
Step 3: Be clear about your motivation. (…”should restore”…)
Step 4: Be clear about your tone. (…”gently”…)
Step 5: Maintain humility. (“But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.”)
The thing that stands out to me most about Paul’s crash course is his emphasis on restoration. We are not spiritual vigilantes, righting every wrong that is unattended in someone’s life. The goal is not punishment, the goal is restoration. Until your goal is restoring someone, you’re not ready to remove the speck.