I love the book of James. I love the fact that it is forthright - direct to the point and does not hold anything back. Whenever I read it, it helps me refocus on the way I should act and the way I want to live.
In today's reading I would to focus on two passages. The first passage are the verses in chapter 13. These verses tell us about false wisdom and true wisdom. The result of false wisdom is found in verse 16, "For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice." False wisdom promotes self-assertion and independence. It destroys a spirit of mutual concern.
True wisdom is free from self-interest and strife. It leads to peace and goodness. It results in being "... peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy ..." True wisdom avoids petty quarreling. It promotes peace and righteousness. It does not escalate a conflict, pass on gossip, or fan the fire of discord.
I like to think of myself as a wise person, but after reading these verses I wonder if I'm as wise as I think I am. How about you?
The second passage is found at the end of today's reading - verses 11 and 12 of chapter 4. These two verses remind us that we are not to judge others or to speak bad of them. These verses call out the following question. Do we build people up with our words or do we tear others down? Are we constructive or destructive?
The verses of James clearly tell us that we should use our words to express love and concern for others. It is our human nature to be critical. However, James calls us to resist this urge and to consciously use positive words.
Human pride leads to criticism of others. In other words, by cutting someone else down we automatically elevate ourselves. This may be true in our human world, but it is certainly not true in the heavenly world.
Join me in trying to live a life that follows James' teachings. It will not be easy, and we will not be able to carry it out flawlessly, but let's commit to trying. If we are only partially successful, what a better world this would be.