If you want the deepest experience of your vertical relationship with God, check your horizontal relationships with the family of God. You are not an only child in God’s family.
People in healthy families always share responsibilities. The Church is a spiritual family of believers, so our relationship with God correlates in various ways with our relationships with one another. If you ignore the “one anothers” in the Bible, you won’t receive everything God wants to give you.
Imagine a child who ignores his siblings but wants to be close to his father. His relationship with his dad will be hindered by his disconnection from his brothers and sisters. God wants you to be a dynamic part of a local body of believers so you can position yourself to experience more of Him as you engage with others. That includes living out the “one another” we are looking at together in this chapter, which is to restore one another. The Church family is to be a place where those who are spiritually weak or sick can find help, hope, healing, and restoration in Christ’s name.
Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. — Galatians 6:1–2
The Greek word translated “restore” means to mend something that has been broken. It sometimes referred to mending a broken bone. The bone would be reset so it could grow back together and be restored to its original function. Or if a fisherman tore his net, he would restore it by mending the place that was torn.
The process of restoration doesn’t always feel good at the time, but it should produce a good result. Restoration is like braces on crooked teeth. They might hurt when the orthodontist tightens them or as the teeth shift into place. But ultimately, the restored smile will be worth the pain.
Before people can be restored, they must acknowledge that something has been broken or torn and needs to be mended. In the same way that people go to the hospital to regain their health, people who come to church ought to be able to find restoration for their broken lives. God uses us to mend one another according to our original design as much as possible.
This excerpt is taken from Horizontal Jesus: How Our Relationships with Others Affect Our Experience with God by Tony Evans (Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR), 2015.