Galatians 1:6 & 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
From the Reformer
Paul minds the rule which he himself lays down in a later chapter where he says: “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” Toward those who have been misled we are to show ourselves parentally affectionate, so that they may perceive that we seek not their destruction but their salvation. Over against the devil and his missionaries, the authors of false doctrines and sects, we ought to be like the Apostle, impatient, and rigorously condemnatory, as parents are with the dog that bites their little one, but the weeping child itself they soothe.
—Martin Luther, Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians
Pulling It Together
When I was a child, we played “king of the pickup” at Steve’s house. We’d clamber into his Dad’s truck bed and push the other guys over the side to see who was strongest. Evidently that person was not me. Once, when pushed out, I sliced my leg to the bone on the license plate. Maybe it had been raining and I slipped on a wet bumper. I cannot remember that far back but I still have the large scar to remind me of my childish efforts. It was probably Steve who helped me limp home for help. He also helped me home after I fell off of my new English Racer in front of his house — on a freshly tarred and graveled street…in the rain…on the right side of my face.
Everyone falls. But will there be someone there to help them up and limp on through life? Or will they simply be scoffed at while they are down? Who then will be there for the scoffers when they fall? Let us face facts: life is slippery and we need help. Not only should one walk with caution, she should be able to expect some assistance in getting back on her feet. It is one of the ways we are to imitate God (Eph 5:1). If God were not patient with us, we would be, not just in a world of hurt but, in a Hell of hurt.
Love is patient toward the weak. Love is kind to the fallen. It restores them to an upright position toward God. However, it should not be so patient and kind with those who trip and push. The agenda of making others fall so that one appears to be king of the hill must be dealt with quickly and forcefully. Life is slippery enough without help from others.