“Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.”
(James 5:19,20)

Several thoughts come to mind as I consider this verse, not the least of which is why does the Lord want me to write about this particular verse. Hmmm…

First, I sense a strong fragrance of love – God’s love for the one who has wandered. I feel His heartbreak for His wayward child.

I also sense grace and immediately the verse that comes to mind is, “But, by the grace of God, go I.” I try to live by this verse. It keeps me centered, and reminds me that we all fall short of God’s grace.

I found an interesting definition of the word, “sinner”. The Greek word used in this verse for sinner is hamartolos (ham-ar-toe-loss) meaning “a traveler leaving the familiar road and taking twisted paths that cause him to lose his way.”

Isn’t that sad? I know people who have left the familiar road and lost their way. This definition gives me the image of my friend or loved one lost in a dark wood, surrounded by dangers, alone…forgotten. It is by God’s grace that I haven’t done the same from time to time.

It’s by God’s grace that, perhaps, you haven’t either.

We are to be compassionate toward our brothers and sisters who stray, not judgmental, not critical. Certainly, not gossips. But, we also need to realize that this is serious business. We are talking about someone who is separated from God because of their sin. They have left the intimate relationship of their Savior. They have wandered off the familiar path and are probably living their worst nightmare.

Galatians 6:1 reads “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.

Let us be about our Father’s business of reconciliation.
Listen to His sweet whisper leading us to show kindness to someone we deem unlovely.
Help a fallen brother or sister realize that they are, indeed, worthy of God’s love.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I’m found; was blind, but now I see.

May we never forget how lonely and frightening the twisted paths away from the familiar road feel. Reach out your hand and bring your brother or sister home.

Lord, Open our ears to hear your voice, our hearts to sense Your Spirit’s leading. It is so easy to stray and so easy to judge the one that does. But Father, You long for Your wayward child to come home to Your embrace. Show us how to love them back into the Kingdom. Remind us of how we felt when we were chained to our sins. And remind us of the grace you extended to us in our time of need. You are precious, Lord.