The Everyday Girl Guide to: James and My Life (James 1:26-27)

June 28, 2013

Put on your steel-toed boots; time for me to trod lovingly on some toes.

James 1:26-27

26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

These two verses are really two completely separate thoughts, so I’m going to divide and conquer.

First, I’m going to replace “religious” with “Christian” in this context.  Everyone has a religion, whether they admit to it or not.  This is concerning those who call themselves Christians.

This has been used a lot to talk about temper control… and I agree.  If your mouth opens and hate spews out every time you (*cough* I) get angry, then you are not representing Christ.  Okay, okay, I am not.  Want to destroy your witness?  Talk love out of one side of your mouth and anger out of the other.  It doesn’t work.

However, this verse applies to every time our mouths run away with us.  One reason drinking much is bad?  Your mouth runs away with you.  One reason not getting enough sleep is bad?  Your mouth runs away with you.  Anytime your tongue is in charge of your life rather than you being in charge of your tongue, your witness loses out.

The second part (which is really two parts in and of itself) is where I’m really going to do some toe-stepping, though  I’m going to leave the “to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” alone for now.  Let’s talk about the first half.

When was the last time you helped a single mom?  A fatherless child?  A single dad?  A homeless person?

Divorce was rare back in the time James was written; today, divorce is at 50% and very few people haven’t been affected by divorce.  But this means there are a lot of hurting people out there who wish someone would notice them “in their distress”.

“Hang on,” you say.  “That’s not what the verse says.  It says widows and orphans.”

Okay, did you help any widows or orphans recently? 

The widows and the orphans were the bottom tier of their society.  Who have you been Christ to lately who sits at that bottom tier of society and just tries to survive?

Please understand, I don’t do this either.  I’m pretty far down on the rungs of the social ladder as a divorced mom making just enough to get by, but I do get by.  I have no excuse for not making time for those who are struggling even more than I am.

So take a moment this weekend and at least offer a smile to the homeless man (who probably smells because he doesn’t have a shower or a change of clothes).  Help a harried solo mom get her groceries to the car while she’s rounding up all three rambunctious kids.  Call up a divorced dad who is desperately missing his kids– but it’s not his weekend.  Whatever you do, be Christ to someone in distress.

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