It is the heart of a Christian to help people. It is the Good Samaritan in us. “But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion.” (Luke 10:33 NKJV)
We are rightly motivated to sacrifice for others as our Savior did for us. “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” (1 John 3:16)
From a secular or spiritual perspective, there can be nothing wrong in helping another person in need, even a known sinner. That’s what we believe, but we’re wrong. Help, even with the best of intentions, can be deadly. Not only to the sinner, but to those who help.
The spiritual key is whether or not the sinner will repent of their sin. If that is the case, we are to do everything we can to lead them from the darkness of their sin to the Light of the Lord. But if they will not repent, we are to leave them. “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.” (Ephesians 5:11)
As with all applicable commandments, leaving the sinner is done not to hurt them, but to lovingly shame them into turning from their sin so they may be saved. “And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.” (2 Thessalonians 3:14-15)
This may sound harsh, perhaps even judgmental, but it’s not. We are not to judge people as it is not our right. “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” (Luke 6:37)
But, and this is where so many go wrong, we are to judge all things. “But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.” (1 Corinthians 2:15)
This seeming nuance is spiritual dynamite, as we are told not to judge the person, but only the sin. That is hard for the secular to tolerate, as our society is being covertly programmed to be permissive and tolerant of even aberrant behavior. But the spiritual among us understand the loving motivation of what God commands, and for that we will never apologize.
We are to help those in need, especially those with needs of the soul. But we are not to tolerate continued sin, as in doing so we help the sinner to remain comfortable in his wretched condition. In contrary to our intentions, we then become sin’s facilitator. And it doesn’t matter if such a person is a stranger or a family member. God’s law is God’s law. “But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner— not even to eat with such a person.” (1 Corinthians 5:11)
And if we will not listen to God’s guidance? The following is a biblical doctrine often ignored and/or misunderstood by even those of devout faith. “Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.” (2 John 1:9-11) As a lay minister and counselor, these three verses take my breath away. We people of faith in trying to help sinners be reclaimed are walking a tightrope most of us don’t know we’re on.
God is saying that unless we are careful to adhere to His Word, we, even in trying to express our faith through a helpful witness, may make the sins of others our sins. And while I speak for no one other than myself, on Judgment Day I will have enough to be concerned with without having to answer for the sins of others. That is why the Bible warns us to only help sinners as God commands.