I own shirts, notebooks, and a waffle maker that express my vibrant love for all things dark side and light side. A friend mailed me Star Wars unmentionables this last weekend. I listen to various Star Wars podcasts and daydream about being a guest interviewee. People who visit our toy room frequently comment, “Wow, your kids like Star Wars.”
It’s true. We passed on the obsession. But don’t worry, we try to pass on more Jesus than Star Wars, so they’ll be ok. More importantly, today is the day, my friends – the day Star Wars and Bible study come together. (Can you hear my joy?!)
Why do we need Star Wars today? Because the Good Gift of We also has a truth that we cannot ignore…
Life together has a dark side.
James loves his brothers. Brotherly love and affection, does not mean the absence of truth. James doesn’t trade in hard truths for untruth. So, like James, let’s say it like it is. If life together has a dark side,
that dark side is personal judgement.
The world is filled to overflowing with judgement. We all have opinions and suggestions just waiting to be utilized. If we cannot share our judgements personally, we’ll gossip about them or throw them on the internet as a vague article share about parenting or politics.
James knows this. He also knows that without speaking in the language of we, no one will ever see their sin, much less their Savior.
Let’s see what James has to say about judging in James 4:10-12 –
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. 11 Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12 There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?
Let’s clarify – sharing truth in love is not the dark side.
James shares the truth in love all over the place. Judgement, however, is when we make our own rules, when we share our own opinions on life choices rather than God’s opinion from His Word, when we share them absent of love, or when we share them without a deep relationship that involves follow through and follow up.
Most of all, judgement is alive and well when we fail to recognize our own need for forgiveness. This is the humility he speaks of in verse 10.
James uses the term brothers so many times, not only because we are adopted sons in Christ Jesus or created sons of the Father, but because…
We are brothers in sin.
That sounds terrible, but it’s our earthly reality. We are imperfect. Our brother is imperfect. Our families are imperfect. Praise God we have a perfect Savior! Only by identifying together our state of imperfection can we begin to talk to one another about the things that matter most- with love, and kindness, affection, and humility.
We are brothers in need of a Savior.
It’s not that our sins are the same, but that our hearts are in the same condition. We NEED Jesus. We NEED Him in a way that we can only begin to fathom together.
Paul, like James, identifies the need to leave judgement out of our hands and into the Lord’s. Read 1 Timothy 1:13-16 –
…though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.
Living life together helps us to see our own need, not our own superiority. Oh, His perfect patience, with me, with you, with we!
We are in this together, brothers and sisters, in this together. Chief of sinners though we be – forgiven, redeemed, set free. He walked out of the tomb so that we could help one another dance, walk, and hobble down the road, chains broken, lives restored.
Sinners together. Forgiven together. We have a Father of Light.
Where do you see personal judgement around you? What do you think people in our world and in our culture feel most judged for?
What language can we use when communicating our own sinfulness and how can this be helpful in confronting the sin of our brother or sister?
Who, in your life, needs to hear the message of sin and forgiveness today?