The status of our spiritual army today looks bad, with many casualties and most of the rest not caring.
“Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:1–2).
There are at least two reasons for not caring for our casualties. First is the cost. If we commit ourselves to caring for a physical invalid, then we are attached. Our time is committed: we cannot forsake the ill person. We also anticipate that if we lovingly begin to care for a spiritual casualty, then we will be forever attached to him. If there is more than one invalid, all of our time will disappear. We are not willing for that to happen.
This thinking assumes that people will stay invalidswhen they are cared for. But if they are cared for in the right way, then they will not. Loving, gentle care restores them, and does so quite rapidly. They will soon cease to be casualties, and we can get back to the work of evangelism more effectively than before.
The second reason for not looking after casualties is our hesitancy to use spiritual judgment. The enemy has infiltrated the camp of the believers through a misapplication of this passage:
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Mt. 7:1–2).
Christians regularly say to each other, “Judge not!” The consequence of this peer pressure (which in itself uses the Word of God in a judgmental fashion) is to paralyze and intimidate the caring believers so they do not look after the casualties. They are led to pretend these casualties are not really injured at all. The results are obvious. Matthew 7:3–5 gives the context of the “do not judge” teaching:
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
This passage commands us to get rid of sin in our lives so that we may remove the speck from our brother’s eye. That is loving, gentle care for a casualty. “Judge not” is a teaching given to keep unqualified people from trying to care for casualties. People who would make the situation worse are not to participate in the care. Paul says, “You who are spiritual” (Gal. 6:1), you who have removed the plank, you who see clearly—you are able to judge. When Jesus said, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her” (Jn. 8:7), He was keeping unqualified men from taking care of casualties. Then He took care of her Himself: “Go now and leave your life of sin” (Jn. 8:11).
When we quote these verses to each other, we stop attempts to care for those who are hurting, because we all have planks in our eyes; we have all sinned. We are not fit to be surgeons.
But we are Christians. God has made it possible for us to get rid of our planks, to get rid of our past sin. He expects us to be spiritual. He expects us to get qualified to care. “I say this to shame you. Is it possible there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers?” (1 Cor. 6:5).
We are required to care. We could come up with the same excuses as the religious men in the story of the Good Samaritan. The casualty was there and could not help himself. The same situation exists today, and Jesus, commending the Samaritan, said to the expert in the law: “Go and do likewise” (Lk. 10:37).
In almost every group of Christians, there are men or women who have become casualties. In many cases, a faithful church or a study group or an annual conference is the means of restoring those believers to full health and combat readiness. But there are situations where the wounds cannot wait for the conference. You who are spiritual should restore him gently. If you are not qualified, then call on someone who is. But do not do nothing.
*Excerpted from Weapons & Tactics. To purchase, visit ccmbooks.org/bookstore.