If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that you should pray about that.1 John 5:16 NIV
How should I respond when I know a fellow believer has sinned? It can be easy to look down on them for their failure, gossip about them and what they have done, or simply ignore it as no big deal. But John gives us the preferred alternative here. Pray for them.
It is tempting to read this verse and focus on this sin that leads to death. What is John talking about here? Is it something that a true believer is capable of? Do I need to worry about it? John’s original readers surely knew what he was talking about here. But scholars today are divided over what this means, suggesting various alternatives.
Ultimately, what this sin is, is a mystery to me. What I find important in this verse, though, is the instruction to pray. I am not forbidden to pray for the one who might have committed this sin. So it is always safe to pray for them. To pray that they would repent, seek God’s forgiveness, and experience his healing and renewal.
Throughout this letter, John has called on us to love one another. And this is one way that I can love. To earnestly pray for my brother or sister who has sinned.