‘Brothers and Sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently…Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way fulfil the law of Christ. If any of you think you are something when you are nothing, you deceive yourselves. Each of you should test your own actions’
Straight talking from Paul the apostle, words that cut to the chase and cut straight to my heart.
There are many times when I see something about someone, and feel I’ve caught a glimpse of the ‘why’ behind their ‘what’. It may be an area of brokenness that infiltrates their life and compromises their relationships. A wound still fresh from the past that affects their daily lives and ability to trust. Or fears that hound them incessantly, hindering their growth and development.
The trouble is; it’s the ‘what’ that presents itself before the ‘why’. The ‘what’ of a bad attitude, blatantly rude and selfish behaviour, a critical spirit, negative mind-set or assuming the worst. These things are hard to get past.
It takes a work of the Holy Spirit to see underneath the layers of behaviour to the heart of a matter.
Call it discernment, call it insight or call it emotional intelligence. The pressing issue is what are we going to do about it? How do we respond to the things we discern?
I must confess my default has been to react to behaviour first, possibly moan and complain to a close family member or friend. This is eventually followed by reflection, and contemplation of the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’ of behaviour. If I make space to connect with God and hear what He has to say, I do something positive about it and pray.
I pray for myself and my reactions, asking God to help me respond differently the next time. I pray for the person, pray that the things I have discerned, the hindrances and wounds, would be removed and healed in their lives.
I believe God’s intention in discernment is for us to pray for, not slate the person. To use our words to build up and edify, not tear down. Honouring who God created them to be, what He has invested in their life, recognising the greatness within.
It doesn’t need to be a long drawn out prayer, we don’t need to go digging for more information with the person or confront them with what we have discerned. We just need to humble ourselves and be faithful, knowing that one day soon we will need others to do the same for us.
Transformation of the heart occurs when we live like this. I have noticed my own heart changing towards a person during the act of praying for them. A guard over my heart comes down and I let love for that person come out. I release the need to try and protect myself.
This is spiritual restoration from a distance. Living by the Spirit.
This is what it means to be spiritual; there but for the grace of God go I …
“There are still some wonderful people left in this world! They are diamonds in the rough, but they’re around! You’ll find them when you fall down– they’re the ones who pick you up, who don’t judge, and you had to fall down to see them!”― C. JoyBell C.