First, let me offer a disclaimer. There is little doubt I’ll not cover all the ins and outs of this letter regarding questions, concerns, and even controversies. Therefore it’s important for you to do some individual study in order to catch the full scope of the background and import of James’ message.
Even though some in history have referred to James as an “epistle of straw” (Martin Luther), if we look closely, it’s clear there are weighty matters being discussed in this short epistle. Continue reading
“When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’
’The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’
’The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.”
― Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass Continue reading
I love it when my 89 year young mother decides to start reading the Bible. She’s had some interest for a while now and has been going to church regularly with some friends of hers but that old Rainbow Girls edition of the KJV just wasn’t cutting it when it came time to read the Bible. “I just don’t understand it” she would say. So we got her a New Living Translation, which is the one my wife uses. It’s made all the difference. Continue reading
You call yourself a ‘Christian,’ but Jesus wasn’t a snob who judged people for their imperfections. You may wanna get your Bible out & check on that.”
That was how the Facebook post read.
Here’s what’s true about that little quote: Jesus didn’t judge people for their imperfections. People who were lame, blind, deaf, etc. were never judged because of their so-called imperfections. However, there’s a huge difference between imperfection and sin. If the word “imperfection” is a substitute for sin, then the quote is dead wrong. Jesus had no problem judging when it came to people’s sin. It caused him no grief to point out the sin; gave him great joy to forgive it; and caused little anxiety for him to say, “Go and sin no more.”
It seems to me the real intent behind that quote is a position of rationalization. In other words, “Don’t judge me. Jesus didn’t judge people.” You can translate that as “I can do what I darn well choose to do because no one has a right to judge me. After all, Jesus didn’t judge people.”
Now…you may want to get your Bible out and check on the fallacy of that kind of logic.
There is indeed freedom in Christ. But it’s not freedom to do whatever one chooses to do. Jesus had no problem “judging” the religious leaders. He had no problem telling them they knew neither God nor the scriptures. He had no problem telling parables about judgment. He had no problem saying the scribes would “receive greater condemnation” because of their pious habits and neglect of the widows. He had no hesitation telling the woman caught in adultery that, even though he did not condemn her, she should go and sin no more. That is, stop the behavior. As Anne Landers said many years ago in one of her syndicated columns; “You can’t sow your wild oats six days a week and then go to church on Sunday and pray for a crop failure.”
The fact is, we come to Christ for the very reason of being confronted (judged) with our sin and it’s the repentance that results from that confrontation that offers freedom. It’s freedom to live a life of faith that is focused on honoring Christ with our life. Not a life that is lived on our terms. You might want to check your Bible on that one too.
I started listening to people who were different than I was.[i]
Think about that statement for a minute. How often do we really listen to people who are different than we are? People who think differently; People who hold differing opinions or theological positions. Do we truly listen to them or do we simply—in our minds—put our fingers in our ears and go “la, la, la, la, la.”
I would suggest, if we’re not willing to listen to people who are different than we are, then we will not be able to listen to the biblical text correctly. Continue reading