Vol. 2, No. 15 – 2017
(If one) is overcome . . . you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. Galatians 6:1
The Peanuts advice column has been reliable over the years in exposing the inside of a person, what they think and how they act. Lucy asks Charlie Brown, “Why are we here on earth?” As usual, Charlie Brown frowns, meditates for a bit, and then replies, “To make others happy.” You just know Lucy has another remark. She responds, “Then why are others here?”
There is biblical advice for leaders in response to the dialogue of Lucy and Charlie Brown.
A true leader comes to the point at which they aid others to return to the right path in the Church, business, institution, or in government. There is no substitute for following the advice of Paul in Galatians 6:1. Matthew also discusses the issue.
“Others” is the frame of reference in Galatians 6. The key words of advice from Paul are found in verses 1-9:
- Restore (care, help)
- Beware (do not be deceived)
- Be consistent (do not lose heart)
The first responsibility a leader has to one who stumbles is to pick them up; then hold them and then build them up. Matthew pens interesting applications for a leader in chapter 23.
- The leader restores; the legalist exploits
- The leader seeks to help; the arrogant criticizes
- The leader approaches in meekness and respect; the antagonist condemns
- The leader covers and protects; the arrogant gossips and broadcasts the bad performance
- The leader recognizes no one is exempt from failing; the competitor boasts of their own self-centered skill
- The leader shows grace; the legalist exposes their flesh-life of immaturity and undeveloped character
If the words of Charlie Brown (make others happy) are applicable, no leader should simply discard those they have responsibility for as if dirty laundry. Restoration mends those in need so that they can function as expected. Even a doctor mends so that their patient can be restored to active life as before. The doctor does so patiently.
Patience is often difficult for me. In fact, if I was not a “doctor” I would not have any patience at all!
What do fallen staff need? They need respectful confrontation, understanding, encouragement, and one who is vitally interested in their success. They need someone who will stay close and share the difficulties the fallen staff member experiences.
- We who are strong owe it to bear the weaknesses of those without strength
- We are not to aid just to please ourselves for convenience
- We are to recognize our strength is for service
- We are to serve for good and edification, not for our own status
- We are to look and ask how we might be of help