Considering our Weakness
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
suggested further reading: 1 Peter 4:7–19
Not without reason, Paul passes from the plural to the singular number in this verse in saying, Considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. He gives weight to his admonition when he addresses each person individually and bids him to look carefully at himself. “Whoever thou art that takest upon thee the office of reproving others, look to thyself,” he seems to say.
Nothing is more difficult for us than to acknowledge or examine our own weaknesses. However acute we are in detecting the faults of others, it is more difficult, as the saying goes, to see “the deformity that hangs behind our own back.” Therefore, to rouse us to greater activity, Paul uses the singular number.
His words have two implications. As we acknowledge that we are liable to sin, we will more willingly grant forgiveness to others, which, in turn, we can expect will be extended to us. Some restate the meaning of these words as: “Thou who art a sinner, and needest the compassion of thy brethren, oughtest not to show thyself fierce and implacable to others.” I would rather choose to say these words are offered as a warning that, in correcting others, we should not ourselves commit sin.
There is a danger here that deserves our most careful attention and against which it is difficult to guard, for nothing is easier than to exceed proper limits. The word tempt, however, may very properly be taken in this passage as extending to the whole life. Whenever we have occasion to pronounce censure on another, let us begin by examining ourselves. Then, remembering our own weakness, let us be indulgent to others.
for meditation: We should be careful not to compound the sinful nature of a situation by adding sin to sin. If we are rebuking sin, we should make sure that our rebukes are as free from sin as possible. We must restore others with a spirit of meekness, not haughtiness.