Sometimes Christians become distressed and downhearted. There may even be a falling away, a failure to fellowship the saints, or perhaps a loss of membership altogether. Many specific events happening over a period of time can lead up to this: discouragement, loss of the sense of belonging, physical ailments, personal sin, and even hurt caused by a brother or sister in Christ. Because the church has a human element to it, our sinful ways can make these things happen. The most important question we must answer is this - when a person falls away, how can we get that person back?
We all know about our Christian duty, don't we? We know that we must show that we care by calling, visiting, praying, and even asking for forgiveness if we have offended that brother or sister. Moreover, there is also something that the offended one is obligated to do (Matt. 18:15-35). But sometimes, regardless of all of the efforts we make, the offended person will not budge. Even when we have done all that we possibly can, it is still up to the individual as to whether they respond and come back to the fold again. It is important for the family of God not to be discouraged when this person chooses not to reconcile differences. But this can also be a very difficult thing to do.
We need to remember that the Bible teaches us to be patient and to put every matter in the hands of God. Just as we must serve God today while we patiently wait for the coming of His Son, so we must sometimes wait for God to complete His full work in individuals (James 5:7). God's word has the power to convert the soul (Ps. 19:7). It pierces through soul and spirit and discerns the thoughts and intents of the heart (Heb. 4:12). We can use every word of God to appeal to sinful men and rest assured that we've done all that we can do. After all, it is God's word through Christ Jesus (and no words of our own) that will judge all people in the last day (John 5:22; 12:48).
In every congregation of the Lord's church, there are people who are on the verge of falling, or who have already fallen away. We must, each of us together and as individuals, do our part in recognizing the spiritual state of every individual in our family. Perhaps if we love enough, care enough, and show the works of Christ in our lives, we will save a soul from spiritual death. May God be with us and let us pray for His word to open and change hearts to His perfect will.
One simple fact remains - There is no more important thing in this world than for people to be right with God. What about you?
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