Friday, October 14, 2011


Just in the past few weeks I keep hearing the first half of James 1:27 quoted. Like, I've heard/read it a number of times. But not one of those times was the second half of the verse included. And I think it's because James 1:27B can be a harder pill to swallow than James 1:27A.

Here's the whole verse:

(A) Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: To look after the fatherless and the widow in their distress (B) and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
James 1:27

And then when I looked it up in my own Bible, I noticed that at some point I had underlined the first half of the verse at some point--but not the second half! "What's the deal with the second part of this verse?" I wondered. It just kept getting left out every time the verse was mentioned.

Since we're reading James in our small group, I brought this up for discussion: Is it perhaps easier for us to look after the fatherless and the widow in their distress than to do what it takes to keep oneself from being polluted by the world?

"I think so," said someone in the group. "Because I can write a check to give money to some people in need somewhere, but that doesn't mean I have to personally change how I'm living."


And it's true--somehow I do find it easier to do things like visit those in affliction or minister to the devastated than to personally refrain from what will stain me. Because what that looks like in your life and mine is:

*Skipping certain television shows and movies that are hilarious--but inappropriate for us who are called to keep ourselves unpolluted by the world. This one's not easy! We like our entertainment and can really let our guard down in this area. I know it's a frequent battle for me.

*Deciding it's not an option to be involved in salacious conversations. And while I may not be a big gossip girl, I know it's broader than that. It means not being sucked into the tabloids in the checkout line, or desiring to read about celeb scandals on the internet. This can be a tough one for me. But there's no other way to say it than this: Getting pulled into those is like taking part in a slanderous conversation, because even though we may not be the ones doing the talking, we're still choosing to listen to the words.

*Setting up parameters WAY far back from the line when it comes to dealing with the opposite sex. Adultery is rampant. Rampant! And the pull to it is strong, yet subtle. And sometimes this "WAY far back" thing is inconvenient. But it's part of keeping unpolluted by something that is prevalent in the world (not to mention well-worth whatever inconvenience is suffered in choosing this route).

*Not allowing money--or the seemed security of "enough" money (whatever dollar amount that might be!) to become our pursuit. Money itself is not the problem--but the love of money corrupts and pollutes. And refusing God a portion of what is His anyway is part of this. Holding "our" money in our tightly-clenched fists is a sign that the world has managed to pollute our thinking about money, and whose it really is.

Somehow it is easier to write a check, or make a meal, or pay a visit to the hurting than it is to NOT become like this world. Yes, we are to minister to the fatherless and widows in their suffering. Of course.

"But undefiled worship is (also) this: To keep oneself from being unstained by the world" (James 1:27B).

Yep, seems to me that if God included part B, then it's worth a mention and an underline.

Not to mention the action it requires of you and me so that it may be true of us.



  1. love this Thea. So true, and something I never thought about. thanks again for sharing your words!

  2. Where did you come from, girl??? You seriously have such a way with words.

    I am feeling hit by this one. For me, it's the gossip (with close friends...we act like we're just chatting, but deep down I know that sometimes we cross the line sometimes) and the love of money...

    Thanks for always putting the truth out there.