“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.” (James 5:19-20)
James speaks of prayer as he draws near to the end of his epistle. Prayer is one of the primary sources of God’s help and comfort as well as the best means for drawing close to Him. In prayer we communicate with God. We tell Him our needs, secrets, fears, doubts, wants, desires and struggles. In prayer we strive to understand His will and increase our faith and trust in Him. As we pray for our brethren, we realize that we are one with them in Christ.
This unity leads James to disclose the underlying motive for speaking the hard truths he has shared and expects others to share as well. His purpose has not been for self-glorification, to prove himself right or godlier than others. His purpose has been to promote unity in the Church, to edify all and to bring the erring Christian brother to repentance for his own good as well as to honor God.
This ought to be our purpose as well, to build each other up in the Lord and to win over the sinner through the use of God’s word. We do so not to prove ourselves better or more moral, but because we do not want to see sinners face eternal punishment for their sins. We want them to receive God’s grace and compassion just as we have. We want them to delight in His forgiveness and love just as we do. Any motive that puts our self at the center of our actions and speech is sin. Thus we ought to draw near to God with great humility so we may always honor Him.