Well then, you who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you teach against stealing, do you steal (take what does not really belong to you)? You who say not to commit adultery, do you commit adultery [are you unchaste in action or in thought]? . . . You who boast in the Law, do you dishonor God by breaking the Law [by stealthily infringing upon or carelessly neglecting or openly breaking it]? For, as it is written, the name of God is maligned and blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you!
— Romans 2:21-24 (AMPC)
Adapted from the resource Battlefield of the Mind – by Joyce Meyer
Paul’s words remind me of a saying I used to hear often: “Don’t do as I do—do as I say.” The people who say this expect others to live according to rules that they themselves aren’t willing to follow, which is often frustrating to those around them.
This is something many Christians are dealing with today. When they see church leaders or those in authority doing things they know aren’t right, they think, Well, if they’re such great Christians and they can do that . . . it must be okay. This attitude can either lead them to do the same things or even turn away from God altogether.
We need to remember that God has called us to be responsible for our actions. God holds us accountable for every thought, word and action—but our responsibility doesn’t stop with our own lives. We’re also responsible to help lift up others when they fall.
Paul explained this in detail in Galatians 6:1-3, where he laid down three important principles that the enemy doesn’t want us to grasp. First, when we become aware that another believer has fallen into sin, we’re to do whatever we can to help that person get back up.
If any person is overtaken in misconduct or sin of any sort, you who are spiritual [who are responsive to and controlled by the Spirit] should set him right and restore and reinstate him, without any sense of superiority and with all gentleness, keeping an attentive eye on yourself, lest you should be tempted also. Bear (endure, carry) one another’s burdens and troublesome moral faults, and in this way fulfill and observe perfectly the law of Christ (the Messiah) and complete what is lacking [in your obedience to it]. For if any person thinks himself to be somebody [too important to condescend to shoulder another’s load] when he is nobody [of superiority except in his own estimation], he deceives and deludes and cheats himself.
– Galatians 6:1-3 AMPC
Even the best of us fail at times, but it’s important to know that the word overtaken doesn’t mean a deliberate, intentional sin. The original meaning is like when someone is walking down an icy sidewalk, and slips and falls. That’s how the Christian life works—everyone slips unintentionally sometimes.
Knowing that, what should be our attitude when see someone else slip? We should offer to help, of course. If someone slips on the ice, don’t you naturally rush over to help that person get up? That’s a basic expression of Christ’s love in us, but the enemy wants to make sure that you don’t reach out or help. He might even whisper something like this, “Just don’t look in her direction. Ignore her. You’re not obligated to help her get up. Why, you don’t even know her.” If we listen to these thoughts long enough, it becomes easier and easier to ignore people in need of help.
The Greek word translated restores was once a medical term used by a surgeon to describe medical procedures like removing a growth from a body or setting a broken arm. The goal is not to see that the person gets punished, but that the person gets healed.
The second point Paul made is that when we find out someone has fallen, instead of pointing fingers and looking down on them, we should look at ourselves. The enemy could’ve tempted us to do the same thing or something else just as bad, or even worse. We all experience temptation and slip ourselves at times, so we need to look with compassion on those who fall and remind ourselves, “Without the grace of God, I would be there.”
The third thing we need to do is to refuse to hold on to pride in our own achievements. If we think we’re more spiritual than someone else, we’re deceiving ourselves. Proverbs 16:18 gives this warning: “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” We shouldn’t spend our time comparing our achievements with others’, but instead ask ourselves, Have I really done all that I could have done? When we compare ourselves with the standards Jesus sets for us, we have no reason to be conceited or prideful, but instead we can be humble and thankful that God is at work in our lives.
Prayer Starter: Father, please remind me to help those who have fallen and to see them with compassion, not pride or judgment. Show me how I can help, and give me the strength to come alongside people when they need it. Thank You for Your grace and for lovingly guiding my steps. In Jesus’ name, amen.