When we tell people we are Christians or we regularly attend church or even if we just consider that we are a Christian, there are certain behaviors that we should avoid, right? Want to begin this study with the first verse of chapter 1? Follow this link.
This is what James addresses in this last passage:
26 If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.James 1: 26-27
When I hear someone that I know attends church and reads and knows the Bible swearing, it’s like fingernails scratching on a chalkboard for me. Those things just don’t go together! We know that James just told us in the previous verses that we need to listen and then follow God’s law. If we are a student of the Bible, we know that language which doesn’t represent God should not come out of our mouths.
To be religious as in following the laws, isn’t what it’s about. But if we gossip or talk about things we shouldn’t, our religion is worthless (a lie). True religion as defined by James is when we reach out to the homeless, widows, and orphans and share the love of God that they so desperately need. How many times did Jesus break that law of the Sabbath to heal someone? Many times this is recorded, but that was more important to him than laws that were defined by the establishment. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day were relentless in following the law and yet not feeling the compassion that Jesus felt for those in need. Protecting those who are lost, unloved, or rejected by society is what is what is encouraged. Instead of thinking we are too good to stoop to someone’s lower socio-economic level we should love those and serve them like Jesus did.