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
God knows our heart well enough to continue the words of caution beyond just maintaining a spirit of gentleness when we confront others about their sin—we are told to keep watch on ourselves, lest we be tempted. He knows our tendency to put words into actions, and He knows our keen ability to superficially cover our words with kindness. He doesn’t just want us to check our words, he wants us to check our hearts. We need to guard our hearts from the temptation to sin when approaching our spouse about their sin.
The reality is we have no problem bringing sin before our spouse. We nag and we mock, we point fingers and we blame, we demean and we shame. Our words are often full of accusations, so God addresses how we are to bring our brokenness up to each other in this passage. First, He reminds us our goal should be to restore them to a place of wholeness, then he urges us to be gentle in our approach. But then God warns us to guard our heart from temptation as we approach because He knows how easily we slip into the pit. Where our heart is at when we confront is critical to the impact of that confrontation will have on their sin.
When we’ve been offended or deeply hurt by the words or actions of our spouse, it can be so easy to fall right into the temptation of anger and bitterness. We want to lash out and hurt as we’ve been hurt. We want them so broken by the pain they caused us that our words are crafted in a way to injure rather than confront. Our temptation is to bring our lack of forgiveness into the conversation as we confront our spouse.
We can also get caught in the trap of self-righteousness. We think we’re better because we don’t struggle with the sin we’re confronting in our spouse, or maybe we once did, but think they should have matured past the sin because we’ve grown through a similar sin. Our tendency is to look down on them and scold them for their sin, to throw scripture in their face, or to yell or speak with disdain.
Here’s a truth I learned some time ago: If you’re wrong in the way that you’re right, you’re wrong even if you’re right. If the way we confront our spouses about their sin is sinful, we’re wrong. God’s not going to be a part of that confrontation because it’s full of sin. If we truly want to see God move in the heart of our spouse, if we truly want to see a change in the temptation they have been struggling with, then we need to be right in the way we approach them—and not just on the surface, but deep within our hearts. We need to check our own hearts for sin before we approach our spouse about their sin if we want God to be a part of it.
Don’t your spouse’s sin drag you into a sinful response. Keep watch on yourself and guard your heart. Seek Him before confronting them, to cleanse your heart from all unrighteousness, and ask Him to fill you with the Spirit so your words are His words and He is glorified in the confrontation.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗