Get Serious1-2Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from? Do you think they just happen? Think again. They come about because you want your own way, and fight for it deep inside yourselves. You lust for what you don't have and are willing to kill to get it. You want what isn't yours and will risk violence to get your hands on it.
2-3You wouldn't think of just asking God for it, would you? And why not? Because you know you'd be asking for what you have no right to. You're spoiled children, each wanting your own way.
4-6You're cheating on God. If all you want is your own way, flirting with the world every chance you get, you end up enemies of God and his way. And do you suppose God doesn't care? The proverb has it that "he's a fiercely jealous lover." And what he gives in love is far better than anything else you'll find. It's common knowledge that "God goes against the willful proud; God gives grace to the willing humble."
7-10So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he'll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it's the only way you'll get on your feet.
11-12Don't bad-mouth each other, friends. It's God's Word, his Message, his Royal Rule, that takes a beating in that kind of talk. You're supposed to be honoring the Message, not writing graffiti all over it. God is in charge of deciding human destiny. Who do you think you are to meddle in the destiny of others?
James is a favorite book of mine, and although I believe this with all my heart, I am still torn by the situations around me. Would we readily and almost preemptively forgive our children when they misbehave? No! We would show them the consequences of their bad behavior.
We are not to be the ultimate judge, but we cannot continue to turn a blind eye to the misdeeds of Christian brothers and sisters. We should go to them and admit wrong, and try to repair the relationship, but realize that these people who we have offended have just as must right to be offended as we have the right to ask for forgiveness. Don't apologize with an attitude, "Well, you have to forgive me because I'm a Christian." . . .uh, no they don't.
If you are selfish, God knows. If you are humble, God knows. So don't try to be sneaky about it, God already knows.