Daily Reflection #297

James 4:9-12
Don’t judge!Today we pray that you would reveal to us whether we harbour resentment, or we lack humility within our fellowship.

Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
11 Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister[a] or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you – who are you to judge your neighbour?

If we jump straight into verse 9, we might be tempted to believe we are back in the book of Ecclesiastes. As with any careful study of the scriptures, we need to be mindful of the context. Verses 9 & 10, follow on closely from the last reflection, which offered some challenging words from James, which seems to suggest that the people he is writing to have an issue over quarrelling and slandering one another.
Not only is it wrong to do this to our neighbour, but it also betrays a wrongful spirit of judgement. Fostering such characteristics should cause us to grieve, mourn and wail, for it drives not only a wedge between our fellow believers, but comes between us and God.
So what advice does James give? Apart from the obvious to stop doing it (v11), we should seek forgiveness from those who we trespass against us. By adopting an attitude of humility, recognising our sin, and in particular the sin of judging others, we are reminded that a flock of sheep have no hierarchy other than the shepherd. After all, when it comes to righteousness, we have all fallen short and Jesus died for each one of us. More than that, our fellow brothers and sisters, whom we will worship alongside for eternity, are equally cherished by Jesus, enough to for him to die for them too. So we should take off the wig, and put down the gavel and resign from our unqualified role of judge.
Dear Lord,
As sheep of your flock, help us to come alongside each other as we face towards the shepherd. Let us be mindful of the love you have in equal measure for each one of us, that we may strive to follow you each day. Unite our flock so we may serve you effectively, in unity, as the body of Christ.