THE MINISTRY OF RESTORATION
What is our responsibility to those who are deeply hurt. It’s been said that Christians have a tendency to shoot their wounded. The Apostle Paul provided practical instruction how to minister to those who have gone astray,
Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. – Galatians 6:1
The Greek word for restore has a number of various nuances and it conveys the idea to make fit, equip, or prepare. Notice the way this word is translated in other verses,
Going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them. – Matthew 4:21
A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher. – Luke 6:40
Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. – 2 Corinthians 13:11
. . . equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. – Hebrews 13:21
After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. – 1 Peter 5:10
For those who have gone astray, our responsibility is to restore, mend, fully train, make complete, and perfect the other person in a spirit of gentleness.
This does mean that we are to condone sin. Jesus modeled the perfect blend of grace and truth. Grace encourages us to come alongside those who are in need. We also seek to be obedient to God’s standards. Edith Hamilton reminds us of this lesson from history, “When the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and never was free again.” Freedom implies responsibility – could that be the reason why few people experience true freedom? They are reluctant to assume responsibility for their lives.
We have a responsibility to restore one another, realizing that we too may be tempted and fall into the same problem. Thomas a Kempis gives us a proper perspective, “Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.”
Jesus modeled a ministry of restoration as He trained and equipped His disciples. God’s process of restoration actually brings about a result that is greater than it was before. What is an area of your life in need of restoration? Whatever is not identified cannot be healed. When the problem is identified, then the work of restoration can begin.
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