- "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. If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load." ~Galatians 6:1-5
The first verse makes the point, and verses 2 through 5 elaborate. As to the first sentence, he who should "restore him gently" is "you who are spiritual". But does this mean all of "you" because you are spiritual or does it mean only those of "you" who are spiritual? Verse 2 expands the idea with direction that clearly applies to everyone. Obviously, it is not only important for those "who are spiritual" to fulfill the law of Christ! Therefore, it must be concluded that "who are spiritual" is used as a counterpoint and describes all of those who are not "caught in sin".
Of course, also worthy of note is that someone "caught in a sin" should be restored gently. This alone is worth considerable meditation. Certainly soft words alone are not at all gently restorative. We must be guided by following the recent verse 5:14, which refers to Leviticus 19:18, "Love your neighbor as yourself."
When hearing "But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted", I used to imagine a person entering a bar to find his friend who was indulging in alcohol only to find himself swilling beer. But the temptation referred to here is toward pride of being "you who are spiritual". For, "if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself wihtout comparing himself to somebody else". This is quite plain. But merely connecting verses 3 and 4 with the second part of verse 1 is revelatory for me. The temptation we face when gently restoring our brothers is less in being caught in the same sin, but more in being tangled in pride.
An apparent contradiction lies between verses 2 and 5. How can it be that we should "Carry each other's burdens" when "each one should carry his own load". Upon brief reflection, it must be recognized that while each should carry his own load, verse 1 makes clear it does not always happen. Sometimes, "someone is caught in a sin", not carrying his own load. We must always endeavor to carry our own load and, when necessary, fulfill the law of Christ to "love your neighbor as yourself" by carrying "each other's burdens".