Help Him/Her Out.

The struggle to be free is real.  In his letter to the Galatians the Apostle Paul paints a picture of 2 threats to the freedom the Galatians were to enjoy in Christ.  The threats remain the same to this day among Christians around the world. 

I liken these threats to ditches along a road.  Either ditch can cause you great trouble and even stop you from moving forward in life. 

Ditches along a road -

1.     External forces – religious custom (the law of Moses) – danger is that it lures the heart through behavior management.  It appeals to the flesh (our selfish and sinful nature) leaving us believing that we have a part in our salvation and sanctification.  We do this in church today when we say you need to add good behavior, church attendance, financial giving, proper dress and more to faith in Jesus.  This leads us to start judging one another who is more righteous and more holy.  In the end, such comparisons only serve to destroy relationships with God and other people; no one wins.

2.     Internal forces – rank selfishness – I want what I like and like what I want.  It doesn’t matter who it hurts (spouses, kids, community) as long as I am free.  This is the view that since Jesus paid it all – I can do what I want.  This view equally leads to destroying relationships.

Staying in the middle of the road and avoiding ditches is our responsibility…

The call is to live responsibly in 2 ways.

1.     Engaged:  Know Your Stuff – knowing what you believe to detect when someone is spiking the punch – adding works to grace.  Join meaningful Bible study groups that connect sound teaching with practical living.   

 2.     Engaged – Know What You’re Doing - Meta-cognition – fancy phrase means being aware of how you affect others.  Are you causing others to stumble – From Malachi and Proverbs in the Old Testament through Corinthians and Romans in the New – the wise are sensitive in order to avoid causing others to stumble in their faith by our actions.

We have this incredible opportunity – especially in light of the world we live in; consider this…

1.     Religiously – church scandals leave people asking if they can trust God or His people.

2.     Politically – division, power plays and scandal leave people asking if they can trust their leaders.

3.     Relationships – performance management has crept into families and friendships placing a burden on people and leaving them questioning if anyone really loves them for who they are more than for how they perform.

These 3 factors serve as an incredible reminder of the opportunity Christians who truly want to follow Jesus have to make a positive difference in the world around them.

3 Relationship Factors that Make a Difference Galatians 6: 1-5

1.     Pick people up, restore them – He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother.

2.     Help someone by carrying their burden with them.

3.     Take responsibility for your own stuff.

 

1.       Pick people up 6: 1

You who are spiritual (you understand what’s happening) if you see someone in sin – restore that person.

Restore – like setting a broken bone.  Can be painful for both of you.  Don’t be like the religious guys in Luke 10 (Good Samaritan) pass by on the other side of the road because they don’t want to get caught up in the mess of people’s lives.  Paul continues that we are to restore with a spirit of gentleness.  By serving others in love we bring to bear the fruit of the Spirit in our lives.  Like the good Samaritan of Jesus’ parable, serving others will more than likely cost us something. 

Paul wisely warns believers to be careful when we do get involved in helping someone caught in sin.  There isn’t a sin that we’re immune to.  Any one of us can fall into sin and therefore it is wise to humbly recognize this and guard ourselves against falling in. 

All too often Christians are known more for curb stomping those who have fallen down in sin rather than helping them up.  You have an opportunity to change this caricature of Christians by helping someone who has gotten involved in sin rather than talking about them or writing them off.

2.       Help Someone by carrying their burden:  6:2

Fulfill the law of Christ – John 13: 34-35, Galatians 5:13 (serve one another in love) and 14 – love one another as I have loved you – love your neighbor as you love yourself.  These teachings of Jesus and Paul compliment one another and call Christians to get involved in helping people; even when they have brought ruin upon themselves with their sin.

A burden is a crushing load placed on someone – perhaps the results of their sins or life’s circumstances.  Not what we were intended to carry.  Are you ok with letting people struggle with their burdens alone?  Where would we be if Jesus turned away from us when we struggle under the burden of our sins or perhaps the sins perpetrated against us by others? 

Rather than pass by – we are called to step in and help.  Helping people with their burdens doesn’t always mean we have the answers.  In many cases, helping someone with their burdens means walking with them to find help, get counseling or treatment.  

This is a good time to address those who carry the burden of stress, pain and suffering associated with abuse they have endured at the hands of another.  Sexual assault, rape, harassment, bullying and the like can result in life long mental as well as physical pain.  These were burdens you were never meant to carry alone.  The church functions best when we come alongside one another and carry these burdens together. 

If you or someone you know is suffering under the burden of such pain, please know we at Lakeside are here to help.  We will see and listen to anyone who is in pain.  We will help you or that person you know who is suffering find help, treatment and rest.  You need to know you’re not alone and we’re here to help.

3.     Take responsibility for your own stuff.  6: 3-5

Pride can creep into anyone’s life and set them up for a great fall.  In Paul’s letter to the Galatians he rails against that type of religious do it yourself mentality that results in pride.  If we can in any way effect even a portion of our salvation – we have not only something to brag about but also something we can hold back from God as ours (part of our lives).  Salvation is by grace alone through faith in Jesus alone.

Paul uses the word load here to distinguish it from burden.  The passage might be confusing when you read you’re to help someone carry their burdens but that each should carry their own load; which is it?  In verse 5, Paul is addressing those things in life which each of us most learn to deal with.  One commentator likened it to a backpack of things that are uniquely our own – a combination of our weaknesses and strengths that we carry and learn to manage through life; these are our responsibilities before God.

2 Facts emerge because of Paul’s teaching in this passage.

1.     Fact:  Life is messy.  The consequences of our choices and the choices of others can adversely affect our lives. 

2.     Fact:  We were never meant to face life life’s challenges and burdens alone.

Question is, will you step in and serve others in love?

This is our calling to follow God – this isn’t the responsibility of the government – this is the Christian calling.

In this church family - See someone needs help – help them.  Something needs to be done – do it.

In doing so, you are proclaiming there is a Kingdom and King.  You are making a difference in the world.  Refuse to walk to the other side of the road and avoid those God has brought into your path.

Parents:  Talk and pray with your children (start now).

Friends:  Take your conversations to a deeper level and meet needs.

Do you need help?  Let someone know today.

 

Vince Armfield