Helping Others Without Hurting Yourselfby Cynthia Jennings on July 29, 2021
This scenario is one most of us have seen. A couple walking together, the woman reaches down to take off her shoe and held on to the man for stability. It only took a few seconds for her to pull out the rock and put her shoe back on.
This scenario reminds me of how rocks can cause discomfort or pain. I’ve felt emotional rocks such as anxiety, anger, fear, and disappointment. Emotional rocks hurt! But it’s much harder to remove emotional, spiritual or relational rocks if we don’t have others to lean on.
Now, imagine that same scenario, except this time the man criticizes the woman when she leans against him. How would she feel in the midst of removing the rock out of her shoe, he stands there complaining that if she would’ve been more careful or smarter, she wouldn’t be in that situation?
There are times in life when even the smartest most careful person gets into situations where they experience discomfort or pain.
The Apostle Paul encourages us to not abandon or ignore our fellow brother or sister in Christ when they reveal an “emotional rock or “sin stone” in their lives. God can and will use our stories and our compassion in powerful ways to draw His children back to Him.
The Apostle Paul teaches us to help others, he reminds us that our job isn’t to shame people back to God. We also, aren’t responsible for whether or not someone repents. That’s up to them. However, we can trust that the same powerful God who raised Jesus from the dead is the same powerful God who’s at work in the life of the person dealing with a “rock.” So, rather than try to avoid or control, avail yourself to stand next to a struggling friend and offer a shoulder to lean on if they need it.
There are three practical points in Paul’s teaching in Galatians 6:1-2 that will equip in helping others without hurting ourselves:
1. The purpose of The Gospel is restoration (freedom in Christ): It’s hard when we see someone struggling with discomfort or pain. We can be lights for The Gospel in someone’s dark situation! Don’t shame or pressure them to “just doing better.” Pray with them to water the seed of the truth to trust God’s power to transform them from the inside out.
2. Spirit-led gentleness should direct our conversations, questions, comments and actions: It’s ok to ask how someone is doing. Be careful not to pry. Allow the person to invite you into the depth of their struggle. Don’t get offended if they choose not to seek your support, but be willing to always offer prayer.
3. When helping someone, don’t harm yourself: We end up hurting ourselves when we place our emphasis on rescuing someone rather than on encouraging Spirit-led restoration. We all need someone to lean on to at times, but we must remember the victory does not come from us it comes from God through Jesus Christ and sustained by The Holy Spirit.
PEARLStoPONDER: Remember, God is responsible for life change not you! Ask God to help you share The Gospel as the only way to true freedom, and trust His power to transform willing lives.
Galatians 6:1-2—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. 2 Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
1 Thessalonians 5:11--Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
2 Corinthians 1:5--For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.