The Book of James provides some words that make you think. One the one hand:
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
In simplest terms, James 1:27 tells us to love God and love your neighbor. Spiritually, you should focus on your own life, your own heart. And with your hands and feet, help those who need your assistance. There is no judgment, no condemnation, no preaching. Just love. Sounds simple.
But James ends on a slightly different tone:
My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.
Here in 5:19-20, the Word seems to be promoting the idea of direct intervention—confrontation when one strays from the path, if you will. Here, victory comes when we turn someone around and steer them toward repentance.
If nothing else, the Book of James reminds me that building an argument for anything around one-off Bible verses is probably note ideal – we need to look at the broader context of the gospels and epistles. Good thing I committed to writing five posts on James… will give me something to think about for the next two.