Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted, Galatians 6:1. We have explored the meaning of meekness in the last two posts, and have settled on a definition that basically says, "Keep your mouth shut when you are being criticized". It occurred to me many years ago that if God would defend me, I would be a fool to do it myself; and if God would not defend me, there was probably a good reason. But then, you have to believe in and trust God to take that approach. He has never failed me.
Why would the Apostle Paul want the person who is initiating the criticism in an attempt to restore someone, to do so in a spirit of meekness? For anyone who has any experience in trying to help a straying brother, we all know how that brother will react. He will turn the accusations or criticism around. "Yeah", he might say, "I missed church for the last two weeks, but remember last June when you skipped the evening service."
It doesn't matter to him why you missed the evening service 6 months earlier. What matters to him is that he drag you down to his level. Nothing can destroy this attempt to restore an erring brother more quickly than to be foolish enough as to get into a back and forth squabble. The erring brother will invariably feel under attack and will attack back. If you cannot go into the encounter willing to have every misdeed, misunderstood action, and personal weakness thrown up in your face, do not attempt to restore your brother.
Be meek. Shut your mouth as he rakes through the mud to make you look as guilty as he is. If he exposes a fault in you, express real sorrow that you have such faults. Thank him for his concern over them. That is the Christian way to disarm an erring brother. It relies on meekness. Over the years I have watched warring brethren become just as guilty and just as silly as the man with whom they war.
And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth, II Timothy 2:24,25. When the above verse talks about God giving repentance, it is not talking about salvation. God has already granted the Gentiles repentance unto life, Acts 11:18. It is referring to God's habit of allowing a foolish brother to wallow in the misery that he himself caused by refusing to acknowledge a truth.
Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh, Proverbs 1:24-26. When a Christian gets himself tangled in foolish thinking, it is often the Lord's pleasure to let him stew in the consequences. I have been there a few times. God's tool in such times is the servant of the Lord. It is frustrating working with people who unbeknownst to themselves, are the principal enemy that they face. God's servant is absolutely worthless to God if at such a time he goes into the battle full of defensiveness.
Defensiveness is the opposite of meekness. I think that if my readers would look back and reflect upon themselves honestly, they would see that the ugliest incidents that they ever have with others is when they grow defensive. Be Meek.