Leave No Man Behind

The military, our educational system, law enforcement as well as fire and rescue personnel all abide by the same mantra: Leave No Man Behind. It is this principle that sometimes inspires other individuals to become part of these and other similar groups. The basic premise is that we do everything in our power to ensure that no individual falls through the cracks. We go to extreme lengths to make sure that everyone either returns home safely (for those in our Armed Forces) or that every man, woman or child (in education or service organizations) achieves the goals and purposes that are set for their lives. But did you know that this is also a biblical principle?

Galatians 6:1 (AMP) further expounds on this principle of Leave No Man Behind. It reads: "Brethren, if any person is overtaken in misconduct or sin of any sort, you who are spiritual [who are responsive to and controlled by the Spirit] should set him right and restore and reinstate him…" This means that if we (Christians) recognize any of our friends, family or ministerial associates who have fallen victim to spiritual fatigue or have missed the mark and are not exactly where God wants them to be, we should provide restoration, repair and comfort to them. Many times, we add further injury to the already present wounds by criticizing and condemning them instead of attempting to search and rescue. We should retrieve our wounded, nurse them back to health, and fire at the enemy on that person's behalf, until they are spiritually healthy and ready to resume battle again.

It is our job to bring others back to a position of peace—the place of total wholeness or completeness—where nothing is broken, spirit, soul or body. There are so many people in this world that are hurting. Some are discouraged, disgusted and walking around with feelings of condemnation because they have gotten off track and feel like they cannot come back home to Christ. It is the believer's job to share with them that it is never too late to return. There is never a time where they have gotten so far away from God that He won't welcome them back. Be the one that has a heart to run after those who are out of fellowship with God. Endeavor to speak a word of compassionate encouragement that will restore them to a position of oneness again.

What do you say to a person who has fallen away and feel like they have gone too far to turn back? You can start by sharing 2 Corinthians 5:17: "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." The Bible calls us new creations. Once we declare that Jesus is our Lord and Savior, we are no longer the same person. Remind that person that no matter what happened in the past, God still loves them. Encourage them with 1 John 1:9: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Once a person confesses, God puts them back in right standing with Him as if they never missed the mark. He does not sit and tally all of the things they've done wrong. Instead, He removes their sins from them. He closes the account, cancels the debt and restores them back to favor with Him.

What if they are not ready to receive the message? Sometimes, because of guilt, a person's heart may not be open to receive what you are trying to share with them. They may feel like they are not worthy to go to God and ask for forgiveness for themselves yet. But thank God we can go to Him and intercede on that person's behalf. He holds back His judgment and does not allow the enemy to take them out, and He extends His mercy toward them until they can go to Him for themselves. God desires that we all have an opportunity to come to Him; and if someone is not ready, they may need you to pray for them until they are.

In Luke 15:11-32, the Bible tells the story of the prodigal son that left home for many years. The day he returned home, his father was so happy to see him that he ran to him and put his best robe on him, and declared a celebration in his house to welcome him back. He treated him as if he had never left! In your own personal life, you may know of a prodigal son or daughter. Perhaps you know someone that used to be an usher, sing in the choir, or minister the gospel, who for some reason has stopped serving and is no longer zealous about God. The relationship still exists, but the fellowship has been broken. Hurting people are just waiting for someone who loves them enough to come to them and say, "It's okay to come back home; we miss you," and then celebrate the fact that they are now home. Let's do our part to leave no man behind. It's time to do a search and rescue of lost souls for the Kingdom of God. They need to know they are loved, and they are welcome to come back home.

This article is written by Bishop George L. Davis