Obey Don’t Judge

Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God’s law. But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you. God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor? James 4:11-12

My oldest child loves to tattle on the baby. There is no end of the constant revelations of how many rules our youngest child breaks. Sometimes it is funny but most of the time it is just too much. I know she is trying to point out how good she is in contrast to her sister. She also enjoys coming up with fantastic stories explaining why she should not get into trouble when she breaks a rule.

We grown ups are no better. We judge to justify ourselves, to feel more spiritual, and to focus our attention on something or someone other than ourselves.

The problem is, Scripture is written to me, for me, and about me. Not about everyone else. Scripture is written to the one reading it or listening to it. Salvation is something we each have to work out for ourselves. God wants to change me and you in very real very personal ways.

James says, stop judging one another. Instead obey God, don’t try to squirm your way out of it.

God bless.

PS. Sorry to be so slow with my posts. Love to have your prayers. I have been struggling with my own demons and doing a lot of study.

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Law of Liberty

James talks about the law of liberty in his letter. He mentions it twice in his letter.

For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. James 1:23-25 (English Standard Version)

And

But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. James 2:9-13 (English Standard Version)

Older brothers have a big problem with legalism. This was a struggle for the Pharisees. It is tough to keep from boiling down a relationship with God into a few rules and regulations. That is not what God intended.

Merriam-Webster defines liberty as..1 : the quality or state of being free: a : the power to do as one pleases b : freedom from physical restraint c : freedom from arbitrary or despotic control d : the positive enjoyment of various social, political, or economic rights and privileges e : the power of choice

Freedom from arbitrary or despotic control. Well to be honest I had to look up despotic. I think this perfectly describes the problem many people have under the lordship and authority of many religious organizations. Instead of a law of liberty they impose a law of bondage.

Funny thing is, I always took James as a rather legalistic fellow. Kinda big on works. Well he does talk about works; however, he was looking into the law of liberty.

Do you? God bless.

Man’s Anger Kills

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. James 1:19-21

I have written before about anger in You Might be an Older Brother: Anger. Anger is something that comes so naturally to us all. I am amazed at how many times anger is the way people react to situations. We react to other drivers on the road, people who work with us and people who live with us with anger. (I know there is good anger; however, 99.9% of our use of anger is not the good kind. I made up that statistic, if your’s is better let me know.)

James says we should be slow to get angry because man’s anger does not produce righteousness. When we get mad we do not act like God. No man’s anger murders, hurts, abuses, offends, manipulates, and <input your offence here>.

CHANGE DIRECTION!

Okay looking at the positive, what should I be quick to? LISTEN! Now as a Christ follower, I am empowered to act differently. Oh, yes I can act out of my sinful nature, like men do. That is not how Christians should act.

No, I can choose the spiritual. My new nature, powered by Christ, can listen, anylize, and love in the environments that would normally produce anger. That is the whole point, behaving different. Being able to minister to the people I normally get mad at.

God, give me wisdom. Help me act like you not man.