James’ writing is so powerful and poignant. I guess we should expect nothing less from the brother of Jesus. Honestly, every time I read James, I feel convicted to take a hard look at my life and, as usual, that inconvenient for me. It is especially inconvenient this time of year.
You see, I’m quite busy turning my home into a Winter Wonderland, buying the perfect Christmas gifts for my loved ones, baking copious amounts of treats, and collecting items for my own wish list. Obviously, I don’t really have the time to reflect on my life and make major changes. Plus, I don’t really have any beef with anyone in the church so I’m good right? I don’t need to worry about this…
Then, I came upon the verse that James references from Proverbs:
“God sets himself against the proud,
but he shows favor to the humble.”
Ouch. I just got called out. I may not currently have any beef with anyone in the church, but I certainly have in the past. Unfortunately, when I reflect on how I handled some of those situations, I’m disappointed in myself. I have been critical, that is for certain. James 4:11 specifically advises us to not criticize our brothers and sisters.
I’m not going to lie. I have a hard time with this one. I am critical of myself and I am critical of others. It’s so much easier to be critical. It’s so much easier to just discreetly let a relationship fizzle out. So much easier than developing compassion or mending a wounded relationship. Yet, this is what we’re called to. Easy has nothing to do with it.
Compassion is hard, but what better season than this one to practice compassion. Christmas is a reminder of the compassion that God had for us by sending the gift of his son.
Maybe we could spend 10 minutes every morning in a place of openness to God’s gift. Through this time of receiving, we could pray that God will provide us the strength and wisdom to have compassion. Maybe he will reveal relationships that need mending. To repair these relationships we will need to have humility. We will need God to strip us of our pride.
Maybe we can ask God to reveal the times that we are judging others. It may be in our own homes, at work, on the freeway, and of course, in church. It’s so easy to make snap judgements about others. So easy for us to be critical. Yet, God doesn’t call us to “easy.” He calls us to become more like him.
So this week, let’s put our pride in check. After all, we are all flawed. Let’s use our brokenness as an opportunity for God to enter in and grow us. If we turn to him, he can help us to be brothers and sisters of compassion.
Peace, Hope & Love,
- The Tongue: Part II (briansauve.com)