James 5:19-20 says, “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.” When we are adopted into God’s church, through faith in the blood of Christ, we all become children of God. This passage of Scripture is such a beautiful example of how we are supposed to watch out for our brothers and sisters in Christ. There are a couple of things in this verse, and the verses prior to this, that show us how we are to be on the watch for the family of God.
First, it may sound simple, but we are to be on the watch for our brothers and sisters in Christ. In order to be able to see someone wandering from the truth, we need to be watching and caring for them. This does not mean that you look on their life with judgment waiting for them to slip as a little brother might do to his older brother. For example, when I was younger, I would watch my older brother and wait for him to do something wrong so that I could say, “Ha! You messed up and now I am going to tell mom.” This is not the type of watching we are to do. Rather we are to make sure that the evilness of this world, those preaching false doctrines, and the sinful nature that is in all of us does not overcome those who say they are in Christ. When we are watching our brothers’ lives with a caring and loving heart and we see them wander from the truth that is found in Christ, we are to stop them and bring them back. If we truly are found in Christ and we truly love others as Christ loves us, we will never allow them to wander away from the truth and into darkness. Secondly, prayer is essential for the correction of those found in Christ. A couple of verses earlier in James 5:16, it says, “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” Not only are we to be on the watch for our brothers and sisters and confront them lovingly when they wander from the truth, but we are to pray for them fervently when they do so. James discusses Elijah when talking about the power of prayer and how he fervently prayed for the rain to stop and it did. That is how we are to pray when we see followers of Christ struggling and moving away from His truth. That is how we strengthen the body of Christ and build up the church, by watching out for our brothers with a loving heart, and fervently praying for them all the time.