Forty-five years ago I became interested in James because he talks about wisdom, the gift king Solomon asked of God. Wisdom is a key theme permeating scripture. The person who finds it, is blessed, and the one who does not is defeated and in danger of being foolish. “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom,” say James 3:13. Hearts filled with “bitter envy and selfish ambition” do not come from God but are marked by “envy, selfish ambition, disorder and every evil practice.” Pretty heavy stuff.
I did not want to be known by those adjectives but I struggled. I had a younger sister who was brilliant with long straight blonde hair to her waist. There was nothing she couldn’t do or so it seemed to me. Short, brown curly hair was not the vogue in those surfer days. It seems silly now as I look back for God has certainly blessed my life. It seems that the wisdom that James talks about comes from above, from God which means I must not be trapped by self centered whining about my trials, trapped by stereotypes that tempt me to think I am better or worse than others, nor trapped by gossip from other’s tongues that take by mind down a rabbit trail of lies and imaginations.
Certainly I count to ten when I become angry but I also count to ten when I encounter disorder, selfish ambition and envy. I must ask myself where I find God in the overflow of rhetoric that seeks to justify violence and disorder. James links wisdom with humility. I think of humility as the ability to look at oneself objectively, acknowledging truth and not being blinded by comparisons to others. It is standing in the truth of God’s light and accepting his leadership. Tough stuff in a world that wants us to be self confident and empowered. I pray as you reflect on the events of your life today that you will see your life through God’s eyes and not be blinded by looking at others. Blessings.