Should we restore the person who has asked forgiveness? Does that mean a "blanket" restoration without accountability measures?

Bible Answer

Galatians 6:1 (NKJV) "Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted."

Inspired Answer

"Brother "J" should now have encouragement. When a man of his temperament sees and acknowledges his wrong, and changes his course of action, there should be a disposition on the part of his brethren and sisters not only to forgive, but to do everything possible to restore confidence, and to strengthen his hands. The impression should never be left on a human mind, that the man who has done wrong, though he sees and corrects his wrong, should still be prevented from standing on vantage ground with his brethren. When such a course is pursued toward any erring soul, the Saviour is misrepresented. Those who recognize the reformation should show forgiveness, and treat the brother who has erred with confidence and special kindness. { SpM 376.6 } ... We need to encourage the erring to confess their wrongs; we should forgive them freely, recognizing the instruction God has given in His Word.—Mrs. E. G. White { SpM 377.1 }

Additional Thoughts

What this means on a practical basis will vary for every situation. In restoring, one would not want to restore stumbling blocks. For example, the accountant who has been stealing would not be helped by being restored without accountability measures. To restore the the individual in a manner that would constantly bring the same temptations would be a disfavor to the person. In some cases, restoration might not even be appropriate for quite some time and then only with checks and balances. There are situations when a person has repeatedly fallen to the same temptation and therefore should not be restored to the same positions of responsibility. But carefully developing accountability measures that recognize the weaknesses of human nature, or determining the person is no longer able to serve in the same way, does not mean that the individual is not welcomed into fellowship with other believers. In a few cases where the behavior was so disruptive of the spiritual health of the church, advise was given to not even restore membership to the church. However, Bible history records God's amazing mercy to individuals that you and I would have considered beyond hope and dangerous in every way—consider Manassah (2Chron. 33:12). So we should pray long and hard about these situations and seek to treat each situation in the same manner Jesus would have treated it.—Dan