Tearing Each Other Apart
Verse 9 Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!
We have talked about patience and standing firm. Today James points out one more way we need to be more aware as we await Christ’s return.
As James recaps his letter he reminds us again of the need to treat our brothers and sisters in Christ with love. Growing up with Jesus as his brother, James likely had plenty of examples on how to live. One of those things that Jesus probably had lived out in front of James was the lack of grumbling and complaining against others. As most little brothers there were likely instances that Jesus wanted to grumble and complain about something that James was doing, but He didn’t. We know this because Jesus never sinned.
James knew that sibling rivalry didn’t happen only in families of origin. He had already been witnessing it in the Church family. Not only had he witnessed it, he had been very aware of the issues that it caused in the Church and how it hurt their witness to the love of Christ. Remember that Jesus said His followers would be identified by their love for one another (John 13:35). Love is tarnished, if not wiped out altogether, by the inner fighting that happens.
Jesus laid out how to deal with issues that arose between people. It first requires going to the offender and addressing the issue with them one on one. This isn’t after taking it to all our friends to get their opinions and reactions. It is important to remember to keep it private until you know how the other person responds, that way if the person sees how they hurt you and repent no one else ever needs to know of the issue. Only if the person isn’t repentant should other people be involved in the situation and then only so there are witnesses. (Matthew 18:15-16) This formula from Jesus should help us squelch the cancer of grumbling and complaining about each other and remind us that we are to be living as a loving family.
James is wanting his readers, including us, to remember that God will judge us on how well we loved Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and on how well we loved each other. James knew the importance of remembering that the time of judgment is coming and we don’t know when. We need to be living as if each day could be the day of His return, because it very well may be!
Making It Personal
Do you grumble about others? Have you ever tried Jesus’ method before grumbling? Who do you need to talk to today?
Making It Personal Kids
Do you complain about other people? What might happen if you were to talk things out with the person instead of complaining? Who do you need to talk to today?
Father, forgive us the times that we have marred Your name in our dealings with each other. Give us a love for each other that has us working things out instead of trying to rip each other apart. In Jesus’ name, amen.