Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you. Do not speak evil of one another, brothers. Whoever speaks evil of a brother or judges his brother speaks evil of the law and judges the law. If you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one lawgiver and judge who is able to save or to destroy. Who then are you to judge your neighbor? – James 4:11-12
As I was spending time with the Lord last evening, this was the reading that was part of my evening prayers. I could not help but think of the elections that are taking place across the United States today and how divisive our country has become. You have not been able to turn on the TV or listen to the news without one candidate lambasting the other for whatever “sins” they may have committed or for whatever shortcomings they would bring to their elected office. It has nothing to do with what is best for our “neighbors” but rather, what is best for me (the candidate) and their close supporters and family members.
We have become a country of judge and jury. We no longer look for the good in people, we look for the bad and how by doing so, we deflect our own sins and shortcomings to others so that we no longer are the focus. As the saying goes, “it is easier to give than receive.” In most cases, this saying is used in a good context. Unfortunately, in this case, we use it as a weapon to destroy others, placing them at our mercy versus allowing the mercy and grace of God to work through us and them.
We have lost sight of the only thing in our world that is good and true and wholesome and life-giving; Jesus Christ.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see our politicians praise the works of the other candidates, explaining why they are the right candidate versus why the other one is the “wrong” candidate? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you and I look at each other from a new perspective, one that is not judgemental, not humiliating, not debasing? As the singer Sam Cooke once sang, “what a wonderful world this would be.”
How can you and I accomplish this? How do we go about changing the way we work with and interact with each other? The answer can be found right in front of us, in His word.
“God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” So submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you of two minds. Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you (James 4:6-8,10).
As you spend time with the Lord today, and I pray that you will, ask for His forgiveness. Humble yourself before Him so that you can humble yourselves before others, His beloved sons and daughters. Allow His grace to work in you and through you so that you can be the light of Christ for others so that you can truly love your neighbor as you love Him; with all of your heart, all of your mind, and all of your soul. Pray that those who will be elected to office today will fulfill their duties with a sense of humility, acting as the humble servant He has called each one of us to be.
Peace and Blessings.