Compassion Versus Enabling of Sin

The Bible calls us to be compassionate.

It also tells us to help a fellow Christian if they are overcome by sin.

Compassion and pointing out sin don’t seem to go together, do they?

The idea of confronting another believer with a sin issue can be daunting, to say the least—especially in today’s culture. 

So, what’s a well-meaning Christian to do when we are aware that a loved one or friend is living in perpetual sin?

Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.” Galatians 6:1

The Bible is very clear, we are to gently and lovingly help another believer trapped in sin.

If you turn a blind eye to a fellow believer’s sin, you are enabling them to continue in sin. Enabling means you are emboldening or empowering them to sin.

Enabling someone’s sin is the same as taking an indirect part in the sin (1Tim 5:22).

The most compassionate thing we can do is come alongside and help our brother or sister—even if it’s difficult.

I remember one day my three children were playing in the backyard when I heard, “Mooommm! Kevin says he broke his arm.” Of course, I stopped what I was doing and ran to the so-called injured brother.

I took one look at Kevin’s arm and knew it was broken. The doctor confirmed, saying he had broken both bones in his forearm, and they would need to be “reset” before applying a cast. The resetting process was not going to be comfortable so Kevin would be given a sedative.

In the Galatians passage above, we are advised if another believer is overcome by sin, a godly person should gently and humbly help that person back on the right path. This means to help restore them. The original word, katartizete, signifies to set in joint, as a dislocated bone.

We are called to not only notice when another believer has gone astray but lovingly help them back on the right path. The only way to do that is to show them their brokenness caused by sin (broken bone) and point them to the healing power of the doctor, Jesus, who alone has the power to reset and restore.

The most compassionate thing I could do for my son was to let the doctor reset the bone despite the short-term discomfort. Now, imagine the long-term effects if I decided not to allow the doctor to reset my son’s arm because it was going to be painful.

Although it is not comfortable for us to do or for our friend to receive, we should not allow fear or misguided compassion to keep us from helping our brothers or sister trapped in a snare of perpetual sin. 

Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.” Prov 27:6

However, there are some things we should consider before approaching our brother or sister.


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Things to Consider First:


Always talk to the Lord before confronting another believer’s sin. We must let the Holy Spirit guide our thoughts and actions. Yes, we have the Bible, but many have used the Word as “a license for a lashing”. This is unacceptable. Remember, God will not call us to do something that does not line up with His Word.


Ask yourself what your motivation is for pointing out a sin issue.

Our motivation should always be love with a desire for restoration.

If this is not the case, then you are in danger of becoming ensnared in sin yourself.

Your Walk

Are you spending daily time in the Word, in prayer, and living a godly life? We must first look at ourselves before approaching someone else about their sin (Matt 7:3-5).

If our walk does not reflect a life surrendered to Christ, we are in danger of the latter half of Galatians 6:1, “And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.”  It is important to guard ourselves against the enemy’s tactics (Eph 6:10-18). Then we will not be unaware of his schemes (2 Cor 2:11).

Is there another believer in your life who has wandered down the wrong path and is in need of your gentle and loving guidance back?

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