Is there someone you know who needs to turn away from destructive behavior? Have you made attempts to get them to see the error of their ways? Do you have your own issues with destructive behavior? Do you know the implications go beyond this life?
We know people who go about their lives either denying God exists or simply not wanting to change their lives to follow Him. We see their destructive behavior. We shake our heads. We talk about them. But what are we doing to turn them toward God?
Some of us have our own issues. We struggle to make changes of our own. We need someone to help us, yet we are either afraid to ask or too embarrassed to ask. So, we continue to struggle on our own. If we make progress at all, it’s as slow as walking in waist deep mud.
On the one hand, it would be wonderful to be like those we hear about who make a one-hundred-eighty-degree turnaround at the snap of their fingers. On the other hand, we are afraid of what our friends will think. We are afraid we will need to leave behind our current friends, needing to make new friends. Making new friends is difficult, especially in today’s world of social distancing, lack of getting out at all due to the pandemic, and the extensive work from home business world.
With all the above said, James tells us that by turning someone away from their sinful behavior we save them from death. He is not talking about the mortal death we all face, but the eternal death and punishment for those who do not belong to God. We don’t really want to think about the possibility of a friend spending eternity in torment. Whether we like to think about it or not, it is a reality we all must face.
Turning a friend toward God can be uncomfortable, especially if that person doesn’t really want to make a change. It can feel like chipping away at a large slab of marble. Yet, the great statues carved centuries ago were carved one chip at a time, ending in a masterpiece. Our efforts do not go unnoticed and may take years to take full effect. We must remain steadfast in our commitment and desire to save our friend. The reward is immeasurable.
I pray we all desire to save the ones we love. I pray we desire to save our friends. I pray each one of us will commit to turning others toward God, saving them from death. Turn from destructive behavior. Commit to helping others. Ask for help. Save someone from death.
James 5:19-20 My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.