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     Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him. Ps.126:5-6

Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, 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

(As I offer this prayer this morning, think of friends in your life in a similar place. Pray more, gossip less, for friends who have fallen or who are struggling.)

Gracious Lord Jesus, I’m grieving this morning for a friend. It’s not the first time and it won’t be the last time I get word of a hard fall—of a friend being “caught” (Gal. 6:1) and “entangled” (Heb. 12:1) in the short-lived pleasures of sin (Heb. 11:25). As I pray for my friend, may my tears be like seeds of hope. If I only think about him, I get mad. Because of the gospel, I want to trust you for a harvest of a restored life and sheaves of redemption, all to your glory.

What he did is serious, and he knows and owns it with brokenness and pained contrition. But what happens next is equally serious. Jesus, he loves you; no one doubts that. But his affection for you is miniscule compared to your love for him. As some would take up stones to harm him, speak these words to him: “Who is it that condemns you? Go and sin no more” (John 8:10-11).

Early in this season of Lent, let him survey your wondrous cross, upon which you—the Prince of Glory, died for rebels, fools, and idolaters, just like me and just like my friend. As the accuser of the brethren screams condemnation, may the cross drown out those damning indictments with its louder boast, “You are fully and eternally accepted in the Beloved! Jesus became sin for you that in him you might become the righteousness of God!” (2 Cor. 5:21).

Surround my friend with those who understand the difference the gospel makes in the face of failure, betrayal, and addiction. Raise up spiritual men and women who understand the ways of gentle restoration (Gal. 6:1) and the journey to gospel sanity. Provide good counseling and the healing community he will need. Show us, his friends, how to love up close and afar.

Jesus, grant my friend deep repentance—a repentance which will result in the fruit grace alone can grow. Keep him humble, teachable, and patient in the coming days. So very Amen I pray, in your tender and triumphant name.


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Scotty Smith

Scotty Smith is the founding pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee. You can follow him on Twitter.

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