I have been reading James for the past few months, and it is horribly convicting. It’s not a ‘simple fix,’ either; as I messaged to a friend over the summer:
How is one supposed to have a mouth that only blesses when there is so much that is curseworthy? How does one keep from favoritism when people try so hard to make you hate them? How can we be holy when the world is so very, very wrong?
How can we be holy in a world gone very wrong?
“Count it all joy,” he says, “when you encounter various trials.”
But what about when the trial is rejection? What if your trial is that the Church you love casts you out? What about the times when your trial seems utterly fruitless, when you come out the other side and are left empty and wasted?
“Blessed is the man who stands fast under trial.”
I know my faults, and they are many. I am often reminded of my sin. But aren’t the trials supposed to come from outside? Am I not a member of the Body, as loved as any other? How am I supposed to bless the elder who curses me? How am I supposed to have no favorites, when on the one hand there are broken ones who love my brokenness, and on the other are the proud who humiliate me? Why do we put on trial those we are called to work with?
When did the Church become a courtroom, where we damn or acquit? Weren’t we barely saved from damnation ourselves?
“Put away all filthiness.”
Aha, we say, see? God is sanctioning our rage. Look at them, really look! Aren’t they filthy? Aren’t I better?
Aren’t I better.
“…that we should be a kind of firstfruits.” We are the firstfruits. We are better. We are chosen.
“Do not be deceived.”
Do not be deceived.
Do. not. be. deceived.
“but each person is tempted…Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”
Do not be deceived. We are each person. You are each person. He is each person.
I am each person.
We have no right. None. We must stop attacking each other; we were not called to sit in judgement of the other members of the body.
Even more so, we have no right to attack others for sinning, for we are the greatest of sinners.
“Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”
I’ll get back to you with the rest when I have mastered that. Visiting real orphans, and real widows, and with them feeling their pain; a keeping myself unstained by bitterness, pride, and self-righteousness.
This could take a while.