Daily Devotion for August 25, 2010
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Prayer for the Morning
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Community of Prayer
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
there he brought the hungry to live, and they founded a city where they could settle.
They sowed fields and planted vineyards that yielded a fruitful harvest;
he blessed them, and their numbers greatly increased, and he did not let their herds diminish.
When Other People Sin
My friends, if anyone is detected in a transgression, you who have received the Spirit should restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness. Take care that you yourselves are not tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
Notes on the Scripture
The first sentence teaches us how we should treat another Christian who has done something wrong. How do you treat a fellow believer who has committed adultery, or used profane language, or some other obvious sin? First off, of course, Christ forbids you to judge the person. Repeatedly in the New Testament, He tells us that we should not worry about the splinter in someone else's eye, when there is a giant arrow in our own eye; that we should "not judge, lest [we] be judged". We even pray that God will forgive us for our sins as we forgive the sins of others.
But we should not sit on our hands. Paul tells us, here, to restore the person in a spirit of gentleness, and I cannot overemphasize the word "gentleness". Someone who has done something wrong, or perceives an accusation, will become extraordinarily defensive. Criticism is soft in the mind of the speaker, but a hundred times louder in the ear of the person who feels accused. Often, people will become defensive when no criticism is even intended.
Before you speak to anyone, you must examine your heart deeply and honestly: Do you feel judgmental? Do you think the person should be punished? If you do, you should probably keep your mouth shut. You are not going to "restore" someone to faith if he perceives any judgment or anger; you are, instead, going to make him angry and drive him to rationalizing his error, making excuses, and all other sorts of natural human behavior we all use to protect our egos.
Someone should talk to the person who has the knack of doing it in the true spirit of love, often someone who has a good relationship with him. In our pride, it is often hard for us to admit that somebody else can do a better job at this than we can.
The second sentence warns us not to be tempted ourselves, if we try to help another person avoid temptation. In some cases, this is easy; for example, a woman who has no desire at all to cheat on her husband, will not suddenly be filled with lust for other men just because she talks to a friend who is having an affair.
But a drug addict or alcoholic, especially one who has only been sober a short while, must be careful when trying to help other addicts. This can be a difficult decision, because former addicts can be the most effective people possible at helping addicts; they just need to pay special attention not to be tempted themselves.