Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Gal. 6:1-2

Heavenly Father, we come to your throne of grace this morning praying for wisdom and gentleness to love our struggling friends well. None of us naturally likes confrontation, and we decry self-righteous busybodies who show up in our lives like self-appointed prosecuting attorneys. But these words of Paul paint a different picture and present a different way of caring for our sin-entangled friends.

Give us kindness and strength. If a friend loves in all seasons, that certainly must involve the seasons when we get entangled in sin. Sin kills; it destroys; it brings death. We tend to forget this. If we saw a friend drinking poison, we wouldn’t hesitate to knock the cup from their hand. If we saw a friend stepping close to a pit of rattlesnakes, we’d yell and push them out of harm’s way. Help us hate sin enough and love our friends enough to get involved. Better to risk the awkwardness, anger, messiness, and defensiveness than to watch another life or marriage simply go down.

Give us discernment and persistence. It’s not about a rush to judgment but about a journey to restoration. Help us to listen before launching. The goal must always be restoration, not just rebuke. Entanglements take a while to get disentangled. We may have to carry some of these burdens longer than we realize. Father, we need the power of the Holy Spirit and the love of Jesus. You promise to give us sufficient grace for all things, and we take you at your Word. We need great grace to do this well.

Give us gentleness and hope. Those who remove specks the best are those who are most aware of the log in their own eye. Keep us humble and keep us aware of our own “temptability.” None of us is beyond the need of grace, and none of us is beyond the reach of grace. Make us wise and careful. Our joy is in remembering that Jesus is the great Restorer, not us. This is the law of Christ we are fulfilling; his yoke we are bearing; his story that’s being written. Super-size our hope in this messy process.

Lastly, Father, we praise you for churches that are stepping up and are seeking to do the hard and heart work of discipline and restoration. Increase their tribe and bless their endeavors. It’s never easy. So very Amen we pray, in Jesus’ holy and loving name.