When we dare to speak out and reach out to people who seem to be sliding away, we don’t have to put pressure on them to clean themselves up first. Undoubtedly they will be caught in some sins private or public, but that’s not where the change process starts. It doesn’t start in the individual.
It starts with simply telling some good news about God, about who he is and what he has done. “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more” (Isaiah 43:25). Did you catch that? “For my own sake,” God said. That is, “I take the initiative. Your forgiveness comes from me, from the gracious goodness in my heart.”
You can’t reignite faith in someone else with threats, rules, laws, pressure, fear, or bribes. It is God who restarts a spiritually dead heart, using the message of the priceless gift of the forgiveness of sins, a gift he alone can give.
Scripture is full of stories of human foolishness and frailties, of human wickedness and rebellion. Scripture is also full of stories of lives changed by the gospel of God’s forgiveness. When you undertake to bring a lost soul back to the Savior, start with the story of the tender heart of God.