To look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. (James 1:27)
THIS PASSAGE FROM JAMES builds up to this unique declaration. This highly significant note we are to take, leading with our ears, growing in righteousness, refusing to indulge anger, not fooling ourselves with knowledge but resembling Christ in our actions—it all comes down to this: love the loveless.
James is drawing on the sacred tradition that was spelled out long ago by Yahweh: care for the orphans, the aliens, and the widows. It is the same tradition Jesus embraced when He walked the earth, giving of His time, energy, and attention to those who were not well-loved by others. The whole tenor of Scripture points us again and again to this theme. And here is James reminding us once again what God-honoring religion looks like. Which begs the question: why must we constantly be reminded of this simple concept? Maybe it has to do with our consistent lack of doing the Word.
Some two thousand years after James wrote his letter, we are no different. We too easily indulge anger instead of reflecting the light of Christ with our actions. It is only by the righteous presence of the Holy Spirit in us that we are able to act out the gospel story. May we give up our lives every day for the sake of Christ, by loving the loveless through our actions.
Go outside your comfort zone and love someone through your actions.
Brian Niece is a former pastor who is now pursuing a PhD, writing, spending time with his wife and three kids, and watching way too much football.
© 2018 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.