Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.
My friend Dante and I were painting model rockets in the kitchen one day. Using all my extensive artistic talent, I slathered bright red paint all over the rocket. In my energy and enthusiasm, I also got managed to get some on, the table. The chair. The floor. The wall.
I immediately started the grand clean-up coverup. Going downstairs into my dad’s workroom, I returned with a can of Otis Cleaning Compound No. 2. I have no idea what was in that stuff, but Otis quietly took it off the market. But no matter, this stuff could take ANYTHING off of ANYTHING. Period.
Carefully pouring some of this highly flammable stuff into a bowl, I dipped a rag into it and cleaned up like my dad taught me: work from the top down. Starting with the walls, I wiped over the paint. Sure enough, it melted off the walls and onto the rag. Feeling better, I moved onto the table, chair, and floor. They also cleaned up right away.
Wow. I was really going to get away with it. I put the rag in the trash and returned the can of cleaner to the basement. The last step in my grand coverup was putting the bowl in the sink. Smiling to myself, I patted myself on the back for this perfect coverup. I’d never be caught.
About 30 minutes later, my mom called me into the kitchen with that “tone” all kids have come to know and fear. She asked if anything happened in the kitchen. Feeling that pang of guilt, I quickly came clean and told everything.
“But it’s ok mom, I cleaned it all up” was my closing argument in the trial for my life. Holding back her wrath, she showed me the bowl that I had poured the cleaning compound in.
The bottom of the bowl had been eaten by the cleaning compound. Oh, did I forget to mention that the bowl I used was made of Tupperware? Oops. Yes, I was caught.
Think back for a second. What have you done not to get caught? What are you willing to do to avoid getting caught? How much are you willing to hide? What lies are you willing to tell? What are you going to bury? What are you going to destroy?
When it comes to being caught, it comes in three flavors.
Caught by others. Someone else sees what we’ve done and brings it to our attention. We can hem and haw all we want. We can deny it, swearing that we didn’t do it. But, we got caught.
Caught by ourselves. We really do know what we’ve done. Sometimes we know it’s wrong while we’re doing it. Sometimes it takes a little bit of time for the guilt to catch up. But it always does.
Caught by God. He brings someone or something into our life that get’s our attention. For some, it’s a gentle whisper. For me, it’s a hot iron skillet upside the head.
We mostly don’t do something with a plan to do evil. Our intentions are good, but they just seem to fall apart. We thought it was going to accomplish something good, but it turns out bad.
Same thing is happening with the Galatians. They wanted to do what was right. They desired to get close to God. To live for him. They enthusiastically tried to follow the laws. They put everything they had into it.
But they found out that trying to live for God on their own, to earn God’s favor through a list of laws, was always doomed to fail. No matter how hard they tried, sin popped up before they knew it.
It isn’t like they planned to do wrong. They desperately wanted to do what’s right. What’s good. What God wanted them to do. To live a godly, pure, holy, clean life. But on their own, no matter what the rules or laws said, they always, always, always failed.
Sound familiar? Yep. Been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt and bumper sticker too. Been down that road so often that you’ve worn a rut in the concrete.
Now you understand why God had to solve our sin problem. We could never fix it or ourselves. We needed someone to do it for us. We don’t need rules, we need a redeemer. We don’t need laws to stop us, we need a Lord to save us.
Yes, God caught us in our sin. But he didn’t stop there, he then threw out his net of love to catch us with his forgiveness. Jesus on the cross is the one and only want to take care of getting caught in sin before our heavenly Father.
Now, that’s worth getting caught.
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