“Restore Such An One”
The instruction of the Apostle Paul to the Galatians about restoration was critically important to that ecclesia. After listing the works of the flesh that would prevent inheritance of eternal life for the unrepentant, he then cataloged the expression of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:19-24). Paul had exhorted them not to “bite and devour” (vs. 15) or to provoke or envy one another (vs. 26).
But just how are we to serve those who are overcome by the works of the flesh? How should an ecclesia respond to an individual that is currently immersed in such observable behaviors? Paul says that those who are spiritual should “restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” (Gal 6:1). This requires us to bear each other’s burdens (vs. 2) and have an accurate view of your own need – “if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.” (vs. 3).
The word for “restore” gives us great insight into the manner we are to approach one lost in sin. The Greek word is “katartizo.” It is a fascinating word, for it means to “mend or repair.” It is the word used to describe the work that James, John and Zebedee were doing on the seaside – mending the nets. (Matthew 4:21). We can imagine the tangles and debris that might have encumbered the effective use of the net. No fisherman would ignore the damaged net, nor would they casually discard it. They would understand the need to carefully repair the net for further use. In non-Biblical Greek literature, it is said that katartizo is used to describe how a physician gently resets a broken bone. In 2 Chr 30:20, we are told that after the reforms and prayer of King Hezekiah, God hearkened and “healed” the people. The Hebrew word for healed is “raphah”, meaning to mend or stitch together. Heb 13:21 uses the word katartizo when it speaks of the of the great shepherd of the sheep, who will “make you perfect (katartizo) in every good work to do his will…”
“katartizo” is a fascinating word, for it means to “mend or repair.” It is the word used to describe the work that James, John and Zebedee were doing on the seaside – mending the nets.
Perhaps this serves as useful insight for believers today as we contemplate the responsibility that we have to one another. We are to employ the “meekness and gentleness of Christ” (2 Cor 10:1) as we attempt to restore one another. There is no room for harshness or condemnation. It could very easily have been us that had been overcome! Next time you find yourself feeling exasperated or maybe even angry with one who is overcome by sin, remember the careful and patient work of the hands of the fishermen, who gently untangled and mended their nets. We can rejoice that our Lord doesn’t ignore or discard us when we are damaged and in need of repair.