James Study: Week 3
Welcome to week 3 of the James Bible study! Sorry I'm a day late, I had a crazy day yesterday and Luca was super clingy and just needed his mama. I have been really enjoying this and I'm so glad you guys are too. Let's get into today's reading.
A Warning against Prejudice
2 My dear brothers and sisters,[a] how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others?
2 For example, suppose someone comes into your meeting[b] dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in dirty clothes. 3 If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, “You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor”—well, 4 doesn’t this discrimination show that your judgments are guided by evil motives?
5 Listen to me, dear brothers and sisters. Hasn’t God chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith? Aren’t they the ones who will inherit the Kingdom he promised to those who love him? 6 But you dishonor the poor! Isn’t it the rich who oppress you and drag you into court? 7 Aren’t they the ones who slander Jesus Christ, whose noble name[c] you bear?
8 Yes indeed, it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the Scriptures: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[d] 9 But if you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin. You are guilty of breaking the law.
10 For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws. 11 For the same God who said, “You must not commit adultery,” also said, “You must not murder.”[e] So if you murder someone but do not commit adultery, you have still broken the law.
12 So whatever you say or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law that sets you free. 13 There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.
This is such an important lesson that James is teaching. There is no place for prejudice when we are people of faith. We should love everyone and never favour some people over others. This is really hard when we think about people who are nasty to us. As Christians, we are instructed to love those who persecute us and pray for our enemies. When I actually started doing this, it was the most freeing thing ever. Unforgiveness and bitterness will grow in us if we hold onto it. Being able to let go and pray for those who are mean to us will allow us to find freedom. Whenever I get an awful DM or comment, I will always lift them up to God. Instead of feeling annoyed, hurt or offended like I used to, I actually feel sad for them because they are hurt. I just lift them up to God. Who in your life comes to mind when we are told to pray for our enemies? Why not take a second and pray for them. I know it can be painful the first, second, even tenth time. But trust me, once you start doing it, you feel SO MUCH FREEDOM! The greatest commandment is to love God and love others.
I love how James talks about those who are rich in a worldy sense vs. those who are rich in a heavenly sense. The world will tell you that to be rich is to have lots of money and material items. But true riches is found in God and our salvation. Take a moment and reflect: how do you define wealthy? Is it happiness with your family? Being able to afford food?
I think this passage is beautiful because it reminds us to check our hearts. Verse 13: "There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you" is a great reminder to not judge others or have prejudice. Instead, we are called to be a light: compassionate, loving and merciful (even to those who wrong us!).
Love you guys! Let me know if I can be praying for anything! x