Pieta“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.” Gal. 6:1 (ESV) 

Chapter         (ESV)

Audio              (2:18)

The Pietà is a famous sculpture by Michelangelo depicting the Virgin Mary holding the dead body of Jesus. It is housed in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City. On May 21, 1972, Laszio Toth jumped over a railing and attacked the masterpiece with a hammer causing significant damage. Had the sculpture been an average piece of work, it might have been discarded. Since Michelangelo’s Pietà was a masterpiece, this was never considered. It deserved restoration.

Similarly, as fallen humans, it is inevitable that we will periodically make wrong decisions and fall into sin. When that happens and we damage ourselves, the Lord seeks to restore us rather than “throw us away”, because we so precious to Him.

As soon as we recognize our sin, or have it pointed out to us by a brother or sister in the Lord, we should not waste precious time rationalizing our mistake. Rather, we should promptly admit our failure, asking forgiveness of the Lord, and undertaking any corrective measures necessary.

As physicians, we may also find ourselves in the position of uncovering the mistakes of others. I was once called to the ER in the middle of the night to take care of a woman with an unusual genital injury that necessitated a detailed history. She initially made up a story that I knew from the injury to be untrue. It finally came out that the injury occurred during intimate relations with a man other than her husband. Unfortunately, I did not handle the situation well because I was tired and had been called out of bed at 3 AM. Instead of using the opportunity to gently help her through her guilt toward possible restoration, I chose to remain frustrated and silent while I repaired the injury.

When those occasions arise in your practice, don’t make the mistake I did and lose an opportunity to help restore someone in need. Perhaps it will be a close friend who approaches you with a confession of sin. As Paul writes here, we should deal with that person with a spirit of gentleness, to restore, not condemn.

Prayer- Lord, keep me humble and faithful so that I may help restore those who fail as I have failed.

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