19 November 2013

James 4:1-12

“There is one lawgiver and judge who is able to save and to destroy. So who, then, are you to judge your neighbour?” (v. 12)


Yesterday's reading reminds us to keep a check on how we live our lives, but today's passage shows us that while it is vital that we keep an eye on our own actions and behaviours, we should not judge others with the same eye. If you ever watch the football on TV, you (like me) might find it hard to take seriously the pundit who you remember often struggling when they were a player now turning a harshly critical eye on the current crop of footballers. It's very easy to forget our previous trangressions, and very easy to remember other people's mistakes.

Humility is a very tough thing to get hold of if you don't have it, or don't want it. We might feel (like those addressed here) that we are humble enough, and its 'those other people' who need to improve, but there is an irony there. The truth that is always worth remembering is that everyone who ever existed, who exists now, or who ever will exist, is known and valued and loved by God. They are loved as much as the person who came first and the person who will come last. What we do or don't do will never match up with the kind of love we're shown by God. We both don't deserve, and can't ever deserve this, and if that doesn't humble us all, we're not reading these facts correctly!

And of course, the good news is that this God who does all of this for us, is also the one who judges us. It is not that we won't be held accountable for what we've done, but the notion of judgement changes from something unpleasant to something righteous. Hence, why we should not sit in judgement, when we know we cannot show God's love through our own judgement.

To Ponder

  • What can be the positive points of judgement?
  • Why should we be reassured that it is God that judges us?

Bible notes author

Jon Curtis

Jon Curtis is a Venture FX pioneer minister in Exeter, Devon. He lives with his exceptional wife Beth, and beautiful baby Freddie.