Have you ever taken time to restore something of value? Maybe you have at least watched those shows on TV where experts take an old vehicle – say from the 1960s – and restore it to its former glory. And, perhaps, even better.
Restoration is fascinating. It takes foresight and time. Sometimes the vehicle is in such poor condition that it must be hauled. Then, depending on how long the vehicle has been broken, idle, corroded, etc. will affect the length of time and money it takes to restore it.
But, any enthusiast who truly desires to restore the vehicle to its former glory, will spend much time, money, and energy to restore it. If restoring the vehicle is truly important to them, they will expend as much time and resources as needed.
As Christians, we know the souls of others hold so much more value than anything in life. No matter the extent of efforts to restore and preserve objects of value, if they exist “under the sun,” they will one day, once again, succumb to corrosion. However, souls will journey into eternity. Are souls truly important to us? If so, do we spend the time, effort, and resources to reach out to those who have fallen from God’s amazing grace? Time is a very precious commodity in today’s fast-paced society. But we make time for what is important to us. In reality, there is no such thing as “free time.” We understand we need to try to restore those led away in error. But do we fulfill this crucial, God-given task?
In Galatians 6:1, the Holy Spirit instructs those who are spiritual to restore those overtaken in sin. The person overtaken in sin is the one who is led by the flesh (Gal. 5:16). But the individual who is spiritual is the one who is both led by the Spirit and bears fruit. The spiritual must do their best to restore the sinner with a spirit that is gentle, meek, humble, and introspective. We must desire the prodigal child’s return to the Lord – and salvation once again from the clutches of Satan.
Love is critical in this effort. James 5:19-20 states that if someone has wandered from the truth, and we turn him back from the error of his way, we will save his soul and cover a multitude of sins. While “love” is not explicitly mentioned in these verses, James’ words echo Proverbs 10:12, “love covers all offenses.” It is from a loving heart that we will try to restore an erring child from their sin.
Building on the foundation of love, our mode of operation is also critical. Proverbs 17:9 states, “Whoever conceals an offense promotes love, but whoever gossips about it separates friends.” Whoever conceals an offense? Are we to cover up sin? Unfortunately, often unintentionally, we sometimes do cover up sin by forgetting those reclaimed by the devil, and not undertaking reclamation efforts. But no, this Proverb, in context, is reinforcing a key teaching of Jesus. Jesus told us to go to a brother or sister who sins against us. We should first go to them in secret and try to resolve things privately (Matthew 18:15; Luke 17:3). Naturally, if the brother or sister sins in a public manner, the process may need to be addressed publicly. Whatever the case, we need to “do everything in love” (1 Corinthians 16:14).
How great would it be to help restore a soul to its former glory. And, perhaps, even better!