Bringing Someone Back

William C. Brownson

READ : James 5:19-20

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. (v. 20)

We pastors hear many stories of sadness: tragic losses, broken marriages, strangled hopes. Perhaps the most heart-rending of all are the reports of those who, in James’ words, “wander from the truth.”

These are people who have known the gospel and have professed faith in Jesus. But now they have abandoned the truth and gone another way. Some of you, perhaps all of you, know this story well. You know it, as we say, “by heart.” At a recent Bible study in our congregation, the group was asked, “How many are praying for someone near to you who has drifted from the Lord?” Every person there raised a hand!

James, in these last words of his letter, speaks of the great hope that these wanderers can be brought back. He isn’t giving up on them. More, he seems to say that believers can sometimes be God’s instruments in helping them return. He doesn’t say exactly how, but surely the interest, the love, the godly example, the persistent prayers of friends, are powerful aids. And imagine what will happen when God uses your witness in that way! If their wandering is our deepest sadness, surely their return will be our highest joy!


Lord, help us to seek wanderers, in the power of your love.