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Restoration in a Transformational Community 23: 6 Landmines on the Restoration Battlefield

When you least expect it on the battlefield, a landmine can blow up in your face. It can cost you your life or your limbs. In the restoration process, you want to know what the landmines look like and where they are most likely to be buried. Here are six that I have seen over years of working with people caught in sin.

Failure to get to the root of why the sin happened. This is the number one reason restoration processes fail to help the person caught in sin. Therefore, do not accept the surface issues as the full truth. Most sin issues are rooted in unresolved issues and choices within the person. If these are not discovered, the person is in danger of repeating the sin or falling into another after the restoration process is completed.

Letting the person in restoration control the process.  Some people have strong personalities and seek to set goals and make demands of those leading the restoration process. If the team finds itself not strong enough to address this problem, ask for outside intervention to keep the person from derailing his or her restoration process. This includes calling the person to repentance if he or she does an ‘end run’ around the team.

Spiritual warfare. Always be aware that Satan lies to us all the time. He will use both the person’s sin and our compassion to frustrate the work of God in the process if he can. Knowing this, do not neglect prayer as a potent weapon in this process and watch out for his schemes to draw the person back into sin.

Anger. Be ready for anger, because all processes involve the person caught in sin being angry, either at the team or the church. Sometimes the family of the person becomes angry on his or her behalf. Do not quit the process just because anger arises. Persevere through the anger, and help the person to focus it on what is wrong, rather than on people seeking to help him or her.

Messiness. All restoration processes are messy and seldom follow a straight line to the end. Be at peace when things go awry—ask God to keep you from giving into negative emotions and quitting too soon. Do be willing to admit mistakes in the process without letting them become the problem.

Waiting too long to take next steps out of fear of other’s anger. Sometimes you can see that God is truly at work in convicting and drawing the person caught in sin more quickly than anyone would have expected. His or her heart is turned, but others who have been affected by the sin or maybe the church family who were hit by the sin’s revelation may not be ready. They might be angry that the person is not ‘suffering’ enough for his or her choices. Do not allow your fear of ‘what-will-people-say’ keep you from going forward with the person. Be ready to move forward as God shows you because He is the one who reigns over this process.

Steve Smith