The Right Way to Rescue People
II Timothy 2:24-26
“And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” (2 Timothy 2:24-26)
As Christians, we have every reason to stand strong in the face of a corrupt world. Our job is to do battle from a position of victory, not for victory. Who else could ever say that? No one! Combat units typically fight and hope for victory, but our hope is greater—we fight from victory not for victory!
With that being said, we (Christians) will suffer casualties. The enemy (Satan) will take prisoners. In 2 Timothy 2:26, we see that Satan can and will ensnare or capture some of us—perhaps you or me. Though we are Christians we may still become prisoners of Satan’s darkness. This darkness takes on many shapes and sizes such as bitterness, unforgiveness, anger, anxiety, pride, jealousy, envy, extreme depression, abuse, sexual sin and perversion, drug and/or alcohol abuse, tobacco, and the list goes on. Satan renders us unusable in the battle for souls.
How must we deal with these people? How can we help? Verses 24-26 provide that answer. First, we must be a servant (we must be in the battle!). Next, do not strive (argue or debate) with them. Be gentle (love them but DO NOT enable them—allow natural consequences to play out). Teach them (they are listening). Be patient (you are not God, you can’t fix them; allow God to do His work). Instruct them with much humility (they live in opposition to themselves and don’t need an arrogant “know-it-all” acting the same way). God will be the One who causes their repentance, not you or me.
Finally, verse 26 states, “…that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil.” Recovery and restoration is between them and God. They must own their recovery. Satan has no power over God and His ability to make them free, but they have to want it. Too often those caught in the Satan’s snare are looking to you and I to make them comfortable in the snare, without truly desiring freedom. Keep loving ‘em, keep teaching ‘em, remain patient, let them experience consequences and let God work!