Galatians 6 v 1
“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by
the Spirit, should restore that person gently”
As a child, I was often taken by my parents to walk in the New Forest.
I routinely loved the challenge of jumping over fences laden with
barbed wire whilst I happily ignored shouts of “use the turnstile
Jonathan !” behind me. A far more boring way to progress the walk I thought.
Often my timing wasn’t perfect and I would get stuck on the fence,
held firmly in place by the barbed wire. My woolly jumper, jeans and
socks would be caught on barbs intended to warn wandering livestock
rather than enthusiastic kids.
Invariably, I would find I had scraped or cut myself and the more I
moved to struggle free from the barbs, the more the clothes would tear
and the cuts get worst. Hence, a shout of …”help me I’m stuck !!”
would ring out.
My Dad’s advice was wise…”don’t move at all and I will unpick
you”…my dad knew the key to setting me free was that I stopped
trying to get free independently.
Christians on the barbs
God loves his people. He wants them to enjoy him now and forever.
Still, there are so many barbs that we can be caught on and the
variety is endless. Over-consumption of food or alcohol, pride,
addiction to shopping, pornography, gripping fears, co-dependant
relationships, television programme addiction, and the list goes on.
So when do we need help from others ?
A conference speaker clarified the difference between the normal
struggle with sin (you just need to be alive for that 1 John 1 v 8)
and the being caught on the barbed wire fence.
She said “Someone who is caught cannot survive without the
substance/thing/person whereas someone struggling can survive – they
are able to move forward freely.
The challenge to the church is to invest time in people who find
themselves caught but are shouting “help”….and, in humility, to
examine our own lives.
1. We cannot help a Christian until they shout “help” – deception is
2. Once they shout “help” we approach them in gentle love, affirming
our own weakness in appropriate areas to encourage them that they are
3. Preventative maintenance – we need a culture of accountability
whereby we walk in the light with someone. This is a fierce battle as
Satan hates it ! I think this is a rarity unfortunately and that’s why
Satan fights to keep your problem secret.
So lets help people to come off the barbed wire fence in gentleness and walk in
the light with each other.
by Jon Gledhill, a member of Hope Church Luton