There is something liberating about knowing as humans we are going to make mistakes. We are going to make mistakes we wish no one witnessed; some mistakes feel so bad we are going to think they are unforgivable, but is that the case? While we may know the answer is “all of sins can be forgiven”, do we truly believe it? Understanding the sacrifice of Christ can make Christians feel unworthy anytime we fall short, but does God share that feeling?
Galatians 6:1-3 (ESV): 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. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
In his letter to the church of Galatia, the Apostle Paul encourages Christians to combat temptation by bearing one another’s burdens. Even if a Christian catches someone in the act of falling into temptation, they are still to treat their brethren with a spirit of gentleness. As difficult as this can seem in the heat of the moment, Christians are to take a moment to consider how they would want to be treated if they were caught in a temptation. There is the temptation to speak as though another’s burden is “heavier” than our own, but Paul tells us we deceive ourselves if we believe that. As Jesus stated, we are to treat others as we want to be treated (Luke 6:31).
Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV): For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
There is not a person able to boast a lifestyle that earns them God’s favor. By faith and obedience we are offered God’s grace, but that is not be confused with us earning salvation. If God did not forgive our smallest sin, we would not be able to join Him in heaven (Romans 6:23). It is a human trait that has someone believe one sin is larger than another’s. In a world where everyone sins, some are compelled to make others feel their sins are more egregious. Jesus challenges this mindset with the parable of the Pharisee and Tax Collector (Luke 18:9-14). The Pharisee knew of God’s greatness and lived a life many would believe is pleasing to God; while the Tax Collector knew of God’s greatness and lived a life many would see as an abomination to the Lord. Jesus said the Tax Collector was the one that went home justified, not because he lived a “better life”; but because he was humble and those who humble themselves will be exalted and those who exalt themselves will be humbled. Let us be humble and gentle with our brethren so we may be pleasing and exalted by God.