Take a moment and read James 5:19-20.
Have you ever had someone, maybe a close friend or church member, come to you with a concern? Maybe they commented on your attitude, a lifestyle choice, or a love interest. It can be easy in those moments to perhaps get offensive and pull away from the conversation. Or maybe it's been the other way around and you've had to address another person's choices. Today, James ends this book with an exploration of this topic.
There must have been people in the church at this time "wandering from the truth" and so James felt he should address what to do. When he uses this statement he is referring to people who have begun to slowly drift away from God's Word. Meaning, over time there is the possibility a person could begin to slide back as they spend less and less time in Scripture. Without being in the Word often they begin to make small decisions here and there that widen the gap between them and God. I've witnessed this in my own life; I get into a busy season and pray less, then begin relying on myself and making poor choices. This is what James is referring to.
It's in these moments we have a responsibility to go to our friend in love and share our concern. Maybe a dear friend has started hanging out with some new friends and they get drunk on the weekends. Or perhaps your best friend is in a new relationship and you see some red flags that could lead to sexual immorality. If this is the case, then it's ok to go to them about what you see. Don't be afraid and remain silent; that doesn't help anyone.
Someone who is wandering should be a serious concern. Their actions may bring severe consequences or judgement that could have been avoided. Or perhaps their sin leads them to an eternal death. Or maybe the sin begins to creep into the body and cause division. It is why you and I should be willing to have a heart to heart with those we love who fall in this category.
This doesn't mean spreading gossip or bringing others from the church into the situation because you are "concerned." It also doesn't mean going at it from a judgemental or corrective standpoint. There is a healthy way to handle this and it's going to your friend in private as Matthew 18 shows us. It's going in love. Warren Wiersbe writes,
It's important we take responsibility to not only win the lost, but to also win the saved when the time calls for it.
Something we can be encouraged to do as well is to stay in the Word. Remain committed to reading the Bible each day so that the enemy cannot get a foothold in your life. This isn't a message just for others, but one for you.
- Is there a friend or loved one you believe is wandering from the truth? How can you help them? Work through how you want to handle the conversation and make a plan to meet with them.
- Are you remaining steadfast in reading the Bible? If not, build 15 minutes into your schedule each day to do so.