Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Just. Pray.

If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death.  1 John 5:16-17

It is heart breaking when we have a loved one who is involved in sin.  We can’t force someone to stop doing what they are doing, or to come to church, or to love God.  It is even harder when the activities they are involved in are putting their life in danger.  But there is only so much we can do.  John gives the best advice about what to do for our “brothers” who are struggling with sin. John tells us to pray for them.  Straight up, praying for them is the best thing we can do.  God has not appointed us to be His moral and spiritual police.  We are not to point fingers and gossip and condemn.  We are to simply pray.  And nothing is more powerful than prayer.  
Let’s be honest, it is extremely hard to just pray, especially when the person is close to you. We feel a desperation in our hearts, or we may feel anger if we have been hurt by their sin.  We feel like we need to dosomething – or saysomething.  If we do or say something when it is not the way God wants it handled, we can make things worse. All actions and words should be prayerfully thought out and laid before the Lord.  In our humanness, sometimes we understandably react without thinking and certainly without praying.  But John says we should just pray, and the result of our prayer will be that God will give them life.  James 5:20says that Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death1 John 5:16 above saysif anyone sees a brother commit a sin…he should pray, and God will give him life.  That is what we want!  We want them to turn away from the death sin brings and into the life Jesus Christ gives with redemption. 
The second part of the passage is a little unsettling to most of us. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death.  There are many differing opinions among scholars about what the sin that leads to death is.  Based on the context of 1 John, some believe that John was talking about denying Christ and unrepentant sin, refusing to obey God’s commands, loving the world and hating others.  Basically, this is rejection of God and everything He stands for and living in intentional, calculated sin.  John is not telling them to pray for someone who is rejecting God, but he is not sayingdon’tpray for them either.  I believe that God always wants us to have an attitude of prayer for those who are lost or living in sin around us.  Who are we to say if they are beyond God’s help?  That is only something God can say so I believe He wants us to pray for those people as well.  
So, pray.  Pray for your family, brothers in Christ, and those who seem beyond help.  Pray for them that they will have eyes to see and they will be given the life He promises.  Pray, release them to God, and find peace for yourself.  Just. Pray. 

To open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.  Acts 26:18

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