“Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.”
One of the most wonderful things about God is that He never throws a person away. If a person is willing to come back to God, He is willing to take them back and use them again. Throughout the Scriptures, you will find that God has often used the repentant believer in mighty ways, even after they have made some of their biggest blunders in their life. Nobody should ever second-guess the Saviour’s desire for the backslidden believer to repent and return to Him.
Sadly, many repentant believers find that their fellow believers don’t have the same attitude towards them as does God. Many believers come back only to find they are shunned and put to the side, only to become discouraged to the point of returning to their sin. God shows five attitudes you should have towards the repentant believer.
First, you should have an attitude that invites them to return. The first word in the verse above shows God’s attitude towards the backslidden when He says, “Come…” You should always want the backslidden to return. Your desire for the backslidden to repent should be so evident that the invitation to return makes the road back to doing right much easier for the repentant believer. The backslidden believer should never wonder if you will accept them if they will get right, but they should know that you are inviting them to come back.
Second, accept their return. The repentant believer should never feel like an outsider once they have returned. You should be the first person to welcome back the backslidden, and they should feel just as loved once they come back as they did before they backslid.
Third, be willing to let them heal from the sin that tore them. The church should be an emergency room that allows the backslidden to heal from their backslidden ways. What does this mean? It means that you understand that they may have some setbacks on their journey back to the LORD. Just because a person repents of their backslidden ways doesn’t mean their flesh is going to give up. Their flesh is going to fight them to bring them back into sin, and you must be willing to let God’s Word heal them of some of the bad habits they acquired while they were away.
Fourth, help rebuild them. God is always willing to help rebuild the repentant believer. To “bind…up” someone means to wrap up what was broken so it can heal and be rebuilt. Rebuilding the repentant believer won’t happen overnight. Time, effort, longsuffering, patience and forgiveness are all necessary tools you must employ to successfully restore the fallen. Rebuilding the fallen is never an overnight action. Rebuilding a life that sin has destroyed takes time, but the effort and patience it takes to rebuild them is worth it when you see them serving the LORD again.
Fifth, let them live again. Verse 2 says, “After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.” God said that He would “revive” Israel and let them “live in his sight.” In other words, He was willing to use them again. At some point, you must be willing to let the repentant believer to be used again. The best way to keep the repentant believer from going back into sin is to get them busy again in serving the LORD.