When One falls…

by Steven Chan
20 February 2011

In 1 Cor 10:12, the Bible warns us thus: “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.” This verse may be paraphrased in this manner: “If you think you are standing firm you had better be careful that you do not fall.” (GNB)

In Matt 26:33-35, the Bible records the occasion when Peter felt that he would never fall away. Peter answered Jesus: “Though they all fall away because of you, I will never fall away.” Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” Peter said to him, “Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you!” And all the disciples said the same.”(ESV) But we all know what happened later on. In Matt 26:56, the Bible records that “then all the disciples left him, and fled.” Peter himself denied the Lord three times in one night and in Mat 26:75, the Bible records that “Peter remembered the word which Jesus had said, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly”.

The reality is that no one is exempt from the possibility of falling away. This is because “our adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (I Pet 5:7). In Matt 26:41, Jesus advised His disciples: “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

The question is what happens when one falls?

In Ecc 4:9-12, it has been explained thus: “Two are better off than one, because together they can work more effectively. If one of them falls down, the other can help him up. But if someone is alone and falls, it’s just too bad, because there is no one to help him. If it is cold, two can sleep together and stay warm, but how can you keep warm by yourself? Two people can resist an attack that would defeat one person alone. A rope made of three cords is hard to break.”(GNB)

In the afore-stated verse it is stated that “if one of them falls down, the other can help him up. But if someone is alone and falls, it’s just too bad, because there is no one to help him”.

We all need someone to help us up and help us along. In 1 Sam 23:14-16, we read of the help provided to David by his good friend, Jonathan: “David stayed in hiding in the hill country, in the wilderness near Ziph. Saul was always trying to find him, but God did not turn David over to him. David saw that Saul was out to kill him. David was at Horesh, in the wilderness near Ziph. Jonathan went to him there and encouraged him with assurances of God’s protection”. It is worth noting that “Jonathan went to him there and encouraged him with assurances of God’s protection”.

In Num 14:18, the Bible declares that “the LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression”. In the famous Psalms 23 at verse 6, we read: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.” Psa 33:18, the Bible tells us: “Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy”

In Gal 6:1-2, the Bible says: “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.”

Do we see ourselves as brethren who will help another brother or sister who may have fallen along the way, or do we appear to these fallen brethren as “judges”, “critics”, “condemners”, devoid of mercy and compassion? In Jude 1:22-23, the Bible encourages us to do the following: “And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.”

Let’s resolve to be helpers of brethren and not judges of our brothers. Rom 14:10: “But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” James 4:11-12: “Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?”

Let’s remember the next time when we see a brother or sister falls along the way, to show the compassion and mercy that God expects of us (Matt 9:13). It will also do us well to remember the Golden rule: Mat 7:12: “Do for others what you want them to do for you” (GNB) or as some others put it: “Treat others in the same way that you want yourself to be treated”.