James 5: 19 – 20

My brothers and sisters, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and is brought back by another, you should know that whoever brings back a sinner from wandering will save the sinner’s soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

So we arrive at the last words from James to his fellow Jewish believers in the Messiah – the Jewish church scattered because of persecution.  I find it very interesting that these are his final words – his final emphasis.  Two facts jump to the surface as I read these verses.

First, as a believer, as a part of the family of God, the church … it is possible to wander away.  James was concerned about those who might wander back into a life of sin-focus – away from the freedom that we have in Christ.  His heart was troubled by those who had left the “life path” and had chosen to walk again on the “death path”.  For you and I, it is important to remember that while my salvation is secure in the hands of Almighty God … I can CHOOSE to get off the road.  I can CHOOSE to turn my back on the sacrifice and life of Jesus and wander back into a life of self and sin. 

I am reminded of Jesus’ parable of the soils in Matthew 13.  Reread that parable in Matthew 13: 1 – 9 and its interpretation in verses 18 – 23.  I wonder if this story was was in James’ mind.  I wonder if he was thinking of some people he loved whose faith had sprouted quickly … then the troubles in Jerusalem had taken their toll and the people had left the walk of faith.  I wonder if he was thinking of some people he loved who had been lured back into the world system of self focus and gratification and had left the walk of faith. 

It is possible to “wander from the truth”. 

Second, don’t let the “wanderers” go without doing what you can do!   It matters.  It is about love.  Muster the courage to express your concern.  In our day and time we are most reticent about speaking to anyone about their behaviors or attitudes.   Our culture has beaten us down with accusations of judgmentalism and narrow-mindedness … so we are hesitant to say anything. 

Love demands that we speak.  It MUST NOT be done with a finger pointing or a strident voice.  It MUST NOT be done with a self-righteous mind or attitude.  It must be done in humility, with love, through prayer.  But it must be done.  To say nothing … to make no attempt to bring the ‘wanderer’ home is a lack of love – a violation of the 2nd greatest commandment from our Lord – love your neighbor as yourself. 

Lord, give me the courage to speak to anyone I know who is “wandering” back into a life of sin.  Give me Your heart.  “Live and let live” is not always a good philosophy to follow.  But teach me to always speak in love and humility. 


I will have one more post in this study … what is a conclusion in my mind … and would love to hear what your “conclusion” is.   Be thinking about what will be different in your own life as a result of spending time in this little letter.  What has James said to you?