The Apostle Paul wrote Galatians to the churches in Galatia to correct their misunderstanding of grace. The good news is that the grace of God is unconditional and is free for all, and we are called to share this good news with others. Because we have freely given, it is our call to do the same for another person.
In this verse, the word “restore” means “to mend.” Those who have broken a bone know the pain in resetting the bone in order for it to mend. Likewise, it can be painful to reset one’s life in order for it to mend after the destructiveness of sin. As human beings, brokenness is a reality of our existence. Therefore, to those who have received the Spirit, Paul encourages the restoration of a transgressor through a spirit of gentleness, seeking to help rather than condemn. Our humanity comes to its fullest bloom when we give whatever we can give: a smile, a handshake, a word of love, a spirit of gentleness. Our greatest fulfillment comes from giving ourselves to others.
As we travel through the 2020 pandemic and begin a new year, I expect more questions will rise on pastoral care and reaching the community during the post-quarantine era. For some, the year 2020 has been a wilderness experience, and for others, it has been a desert. Yet, God is more than able to order our steps in our wilderness and create flowing streams in our desert. No matter what predicament, problem, or challenge we face, God can make a way when there seems to be absolutely no way in sight. We all have struggled and experienced a few missteps, mistakes, mishaps, and transgressions, but we have continued to embrace each other with gentleness, using the Fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Let us remember that gentleness is the virtue of doing good with the least possible harm to others. It is the decision to approach others from a stance of love—or at least benevolence—rather than indifference. Gentleness is courage without aggression, strength without harshness, and love without anger. As we begin the new year, 2021, let us do so by embracing the Lord’s fresh mercies. Let us continue to practice a spirit of gentleness at home, at work, in our communities, and in the world. Let us allow the power of God to revolutionize our weaknesses, transform our minds, and enhance our spirits in a way that extend grace to one another with the Spirit of gentleness.