Picture an old time covered wagons bouncing over the prairies, the frightened horses racing out of control. Perhaps the reins had been dropped or maybe the driver fell asleep and was not guiding the horses by the movements and nudging of the reins.
It is not a good thing to watch the scared passengers. And then the cowboy rides in, climbs aboard, finds the reins and gets the horses back under control.
Someone once taught me that "gentleness" when used in scripture is defined as power under control.
Now let's look at the scripture below in that light.
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. (Galatians 6:1 ESV)
We all know someone who has taken a step backward in their walk of faith. Maybe they stopped serving with the church, maybe they stopped adding to the discussions during Bible studies, maybe they stopped attending some of the gatherings, maybe they've stopped coming altogether.
We, the rest of the church, miss that person. After all we are "one body with many members" as described in Ephesians. We all need each other. So when one falls, it hurts all of us.
The verse above tells us that we need to try to restore such one, but in a spirit of "gentleness." In other words, with tact, carefully, perhaps slowly.
And the verse goes on to say, be on guard lest you too be tempted.
Hmm, be tempted to fall into the same sin, me, never!
Well, maybe the temptation would be to act arrogantly like you couldn't possibly behave in the same manner because you are too much of a Christian.
You know, don't you that we are still sinners? We all still sin each and everyday? Not a single one of us are above it!
A man in our congregation was slipping back. He was falling away because in his words, "no one really cared about me."
Some of the people rallied around, worked with him, begin visiting him and his family, offered him some serving jobs inside the building so that he felt included. And one Sunday night he came to service again,( he never stopped coming Sunday mornings.)
One woman came right over before he was three feet inside the door and said, "It's about time you're here again, YOU SHOULD be here all the time."
Immediately this man felt offended and all the "gentle" work that the others had done for this man was destroyed by her callous comment.
No one likes to be "should on." It feels terrible.
When someone comes back to church gathering it is because they realized in their own mind and heart that they needed to. Welcome them, hug them, love them and encourage them.
Don't "should on" them. Keep that to yourself.