From James to James

I do not read the bible too often anymore. Perhaps a few verses a day. Years ago I would read an entire book or letter each day, depending on the length. An obsessive pull compelled me to read as much as possible. Some would call that the Holy Spirit. During that time I would have agreed with them. Nevertheless:

James 1:5-6: “Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally drag you into court? Do they not blaspheme the fair name by which you have been called?”

Those words should cut deep, regardless of religion (or lack thereof). I cannot get over the statement, “But you have dishonored the poor man.” The poor man. He/She is the one we have dishonored. Not the priests. Not the church. Not the rich. Not the law or government. No, the poor is who we have dishonored.

James continues in verse thirteen and writes: “For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.”

I have heard a lot about the migrants and immigrants from the south. I have heard from the lips of those who say they read the same bible make statements like: “They need to follow the law.” “They are in confinement because they broke the law.” “Their children were taken away because they broke our laws.”

Where is the mercy?

You can hold your judgment if you will. But remember, God will show as much judgment or more on you when your day arrives. So why not show mercy? Everyone of us who calls on the name of Christ would do well to remember that mercy and grace are far more important than judgment or riches.

One I do not have to quote: Christ told us that we cannot serve God and money. We serve money when we place the economy above people. We serve money when we place a false sense of security above the poor.

Before you pass judgment on my words, or me, I ask that you pray. Look inside your own heart. Your own soul. Ask the question: “Do I want God to show me mercy or judgment?”

Only you and God knows if you’re worthy of mercy. Grace is free. So should our love and land.