If you ever get lucky enough to wash skunk spray off your dog, here is some advice that will save you a lot of stinkin’ trouble: wear gloves. I was armed with an arsenal of cleaning concoctions to scrub our English shepherd the last time he was sprayed. I washed him thoroughly, but the putrid odor followed me everywhere I went. My wife and I even scrubbed the house meticulously, but we could not identify the source of the lingering stench—until I smelled my hands. I washed him without protecting myself first, and the stench transferred to me.
Similarly, the Lord urges us to “wear gloves” when reaching out to help those who need cleansing from sin. “Brothers,” said Paul, “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” (Gal. 6:1). Indeed, we must keep an eye on our spiritual brothers and sisters, but we must first keep an eye on ourselves! When lifting others from sin’s pit, we must not lean in too far, lest we fall in headfirst. When bringing them to the Lord for cleansing through our gentle admonitions, we must do so while wearing the gloves of wise diligence.
We are just as vulnerable to temptation as those we’re trying to help, and every bit as dependent upon the cleansing grace of God for when we are “sprayed” by sin. Restoring wayward believers exposes you to sin, much like a doctor is exposed to illness when treating a patient. Therefore, no Christian should regard himself as super-spiritual or immune to the lure of sin. Paul warned, “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12). Wear gloves when helping other Christians who need cleansing from sin.
Bible Gleanings is a widely-read weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky.
Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).