Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Monday, 30 September 19:
James 5:19-20 – My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
After James challenges us to watch our own behavior (James 1), to show no partiality and to love everyone equally (James 2); to be cautious in the role of teacher and to bridle our tongues, to be peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and sincere (James 3); to not judge others (James 4); to not grumble against one another but rather to suffer in patience; he concludes his epistle by challenging us to ‘rescue the wanderer’ in order to “save his soul from death” and to cover a multitude of sins – “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8) Godly confrontation is an act of love but not an easy thing to do or to do well.
We need others to hold us accountable, and we need to hold our fellow Christians accountable too. However, too often we either say nothing or respond to the sins of others too harshly or in a judgmental (condemning) way. “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” (Galatians 6:1) We need to practice the art of gentle confrontation and restoration.
– James 5:15-16 — And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
Gentle confrontation in love begins with and remains filled with constant intercessory prayer. Jesus remained in constant, fervent prayer for His disciples during their times of weakness – “I am praying for them…. Holy Father, keep them in your name…. keep them from the evil one.” (John 17:9, 10, 15) Why did Jesus pray for those who would abandon Him at the Cross? Because He love them in their weakness. A good way to check your heart when confronting others is to consider how you have prayed for them. When confronting others, deny self, take up your cross, and follow Jesus.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 30 September 19: Consider who you know who has wandered from the truth, pray for them, and pray that God will show you how to restore them gently.