Love like Jesus
James 4:10-12 (AMP) Humble yourselves [with an attitude of repentance and insignificance] in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you [He will lift you up, He will give you purpose]. Believers, do not speak against or slander one another. He who speaks [self-righteously] against a brother or judges his brother [hypocritically], speaks against the Law and judges the Law. If you judge the Law, you are not a doer of the Law but a judge of it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy [the one God who has the absolute power of life and death]; but who are you to [hypocritically or self-righteously] pass judgment on your neighbor?
In an era of pride, self-righteousness, social media and fear of "offending" others, I love that the book of James can give us guidance and instruction. To be humble before God is to know that without Him we are nothing, we wouldn't even exist. That we are in desperate need of a Savior and a righteous God. It goes on to say that we should not slander one another - WOW - if Christians would stop bad-mouthing one another, what an impact it would make in the world! We are to set ourselves apart from the world, not blend in - if we are arguing and talking bad about one another rather than showing love, praying for others and encouraging them in the midst of their sin/struggles, how are we any different than someone without Christ? I want to point out that this does not say to be blind to sin - we are still to live morally and know the difference between right and wrong. When we have a relationship with Christ we will be convicted of our wrongdoings. This is how we grow closer to Him and become purified through His word. I found a footnote regarding the "if you judge" portion of the scripture that says:
This is not a prohibition of all judgment, nor is it a command to stop using godly wisdom, common sense, and moral courage together with God’s written word to discern right from wrong, to distinguish between morality and immorality, and to judge doctrinal truth. There are many judgments that are not only legitimate, but are commanded (cf John 7:24; 1 Cor 5:5, 12; Gal 1:8, 9; 1 John 4:1-3; 2 John 10); however, you cannot judge another if you are committing the same type of sin.
I think a great point is noted when it says we cannot judge another if we are committing the same type of sin. I know many of us make a mistake and judge ourselves based on our "intentions" but when someone else makes the same mistake, we feel the desire to judge them based on their heart - as though they were so intentional to disobey God and we were not. We are all at different stages in our relationship with Christ, loving someone in sin does not mean you approve of the sin. Just as a parent loves their child, when the child messes up, they don't banish them and stop loving them. If anything, they pray for that child even more - leaving the 99 to find the 1. Let's remember that we were not saved because we are so great or we have done a list of great works, rather, we are saved by grace and God is looking for His church to stand up and offer the same love and grace to those around us as He did when He sent Jesus to die on a cross. The ultimate sacrifice was made for a world full of brokenness and sin. Let's learn to love like Jesus loves and see through the eyes of Christ.