Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.Galatians 6:1-2 ESV
When our spouse is caught in a transgression, when they’re living in an unguarded way in some aspect of their life, we are called to restore them. But God knows our tendency toward judgment, so we are immediately instructed to restore them with a spirit of gentleness.
If we take the time to understand the original meaning behind the word restore, it can help us in our approach. Restoring is to put something back together, as a bone that’s out of place. It was also a word used for mending fishing nets in the New Testament. So, to restore something is to make it whole or functional again. Our relationship with Christ is broken when we are caught in sin. We grieve the Spirit living inside of us when we sin, making it more difficult to respond in a way that glorifies Christ. We have less patience, we are less loving and kind, we are less faithful. In order to restore our relationship with Christ, thereby amplifying the Spirit, we need to confess and repent of our sin. We need to grieve the broken nature of our relationship with Christ.
God knows this rarely happens if we are made to feel humiliated or if we are shamed by someone about our actions. He knows our self-protective tendency well, so he knows the humble grieving that needs to take place before repentance doesn’t happen in the middle of an argument, or when our transgressions are pointed out with a spirit of sarcasm or disgust. So, He instructs us to restore our spouses with a spirit of gentleness. Gentle is how Jesus describes himself in Matthew 11:29, when you are burdened, take my yoke on you for I am gentle. Gentleness is sweetly reasonable and approachable.
Here’s the thing: If you’re angry at your spouse for their sin, if you’re offended, if you’re judgmental, you’re not going to be gentle. If the sin was against you, and you have not forgiven them for their sin, the Spirit is grieved in you. Without the Spirit, you will struggle to be authentically gentle. Before you can bring the transgression to your spouse, you need to check your own relationship with Christ. You need to search your heart for forgiveness or bitterness, ensuring your heart is clean. Only then can you be an ambassador for Christ and bring your spouse’s transgression to them.
Your goal when approaching your spouse about a sin is to restore their relationship with Christ. Your goal is not to make them feel inferior or to win in some way, your goal is not to make them feel caught or to get something from them that makes you feel better, your goal is not an apology. Your goal is to restore them in their relationship with Christ. Let that influence the way you speak to them about their sin.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗