In Galatians 6, Paul switches gears. Paul is shifting gears from what is true, to how it should be lived out. In the case of Galatians, if Salvation is by grace, how then do we live together as sinners saved by grace? Galatians 5 tells us of what things we can expect when the Holy Spirit is in control of our lives. Galatians 6 then flows out of that, to tell us how we relate to one another when we walk “in step with the Holy Spirit”.
‘If anyone is caught in any transgression you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.’ The word used for sin here carries more of a “fall away” or “step to the side”. This isn’t just a one off moral failure or not being as good as I should be. Paul is specifically talking about habitual sin; patterns which are enslaving, addictions even. Dealing with sin is not about punishing the guilty. The priority is reconciliation. Gentleness doesn’t mean saying its ok. Gentleness doesn’t mean being dismissive to spare the person’s feelings. Gentleness means you are clear in your intent not to harm the person but help. It means communicating in humility and tenderness. ‘Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.’ Paul is not telling us to judge or condemn, that would be to take over a role that is not ours. Rather, “How can I incarnate the love and grace of God for you?” He is saying, our role is to tell them ‘you can be free of all this. You don’t have to carry this baggage’. He challenges us as believers to live out the love and grace we have received. Love the Lord and Love your neighbour as yourself. There is no law against love.
We are called to speak the truth in love. ‘SPEAK THE TRUTH IN LOVE’. If we are uncomfortable to speak the truth, because we are seeking approval of others, we have succumbed to that idol. If we are comfortable showing people the errors of their ways, but haven’t first made sure that we have a deep and abiding love for them as one of our brothers and sisters in Christ, then we have usurped control from God, and become judge in his place. The only way forward is to allow the Holy Spirit to direct our ways. In what area in your life are you needing to explore this more deeply?