This subject has been heavy on my heart for a few years now. I cannot help but come back to it. How many of us hurl stones when we find out someone has fallen into a sin trap? You don’t have to think back too far to remember public figures within the last few months who committed sexual sin. The media sensationalized it (surprisingly on both the conservative and liberal sides). The same happens in Christian circles. It is a great tool of the devil to convince people that church and faith are not worth our time and energy.
We do not hear much about restoration within churches. I have talked with pastors from conservative denominations other than the one with which I was formerly affiliated. I know of two that have a restoration process for pastors or their families when they go through divorce or have fallen into sin. I was rather surprised as many churches “restoration process” is to kick them out, ostracize them, and hope they repent. The success rate on that “process” is great if you want to embitter people and turn them against God.
So from where does this idea of restoration come? The Bible. Great place, right? Matthew 18 outlines a discipline process. This is not for the purpose of expulsion but restoration. If you follow the 3 steps and the person continues his or her wicked ways, he or she does not want to be restored. According to Galatians 6:1, restoration is a commandment. Note what this verse says: “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.” In other words, any of us could fall into this sin trap so we should handle them gently and help get them back to a greater place spiritually than they were.
Have you ever wondered why many leave the church? The lack of restoration is one of those reasons. It’s dirty work, but so was salvation. Jesus picked up dirty sinners out of the miry clay (Psalm 40) and washed their sins away when they cried out to Him for salvation. Therefore, we have no reason at all to think we are above sin or above giving a hand up to someone who took a wrong turn in life. What would Jesus do? He would restore, and He still does!