The simple answer is that our love is not dependent on their actions or motivations. The quality of our relationships is dependent on the Christ-centered nature and health of each person.
We each have people in our lives that desire to follow Jesus, desire the intimacy of a walk in the deepest joys of discipleship and are devastated by the trauma of their sinful choices. Some of those choices were thoughtless and others were with full complicity.
What is the role of each of us in response? As the Apostle Paul says, we are to be reconcilers in love.
2nd Corinthians 5:18-20 "All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Jesus and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us."
Paul also gave us some very practical instructions in Galatians 6:1-2 Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
Paul is addressing believers who have chosen to fall away from submission to God. They become burdened by the consequences of their choices and we feel a part of that same burden. We can carry their burden with them and seek their restoration to God, not their punishment. The word, restore means, “to set a bone that has been broken.” Meaning a relationship with God that has been broken, misshapen and dying as removed from its source of life.
God has called upon us to restore these people, because they’re living a “burdened” life.
God has called upon us to restore these people, because they’re living a “burdened” life. The hope of the gospel we share is that they can be restored. We need to allow the Holy Spirit and the power of the Word to bring conviction. We gently show them the truth, we dispel the lies they believe in and we walk with them, encouraging them toward that goal of reconciliations with their Father.
Broken people do not need a lecture, ostracizing attitudes, to be gossiped about, or devalued as irredeemable. They need the community of truth and grace to minister to them and strengthen them until the brokenness is set straight or they reject the truth and seek to live in the burden of brokenness. Not all will receive this, but we venture on in the power of the truth of God’s word and the grace we have received.
A broken person needs to receive gentleness in the re-setting of the brokenness, to experience the humility of a sinner serving another sinner in the grace of God, and knowing that our walking with them is out of empathy for the person who traded a relationship with a loving Father for a temporary pleasure that brought great shame and devastation.
We do not judge broken people but we offer them a vision of wholeness and healing to replace the lies they have believed. We take this course of action to “fulfill the law of Christ” which is to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Gal 5:14). God’s love given in relationship can unburden a broken soul and pave a way back to our loving heavenly Father.
Galatians 5:14 The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself."
Mark Christian is a trustee for Christ In Youth. He has been senior minister at Christ’s Church of Oronogo in Oronogo, Missouri, since 2009.