be doers of the word.

29Dec09

James 1:22 says, “Be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves.” I just read this article on the God’s politics blog discussing immigration, reminding us that to love God is to love our immigrant neighbors. The definition of hypocrisy is; the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform. The post discussed how far too often, specifically to the outside eye, the christian community is perceived as hypocritical. While I agree with this judgement, the worst part is that there are so many believers out there who don’t realize that their actions are offensive, deceitful and flat out … ungodly. Living in America, I think it’s easy for us to forget about others, especially those less fortunate than us. I have trouble understanding how christians can say that they live for Christ, but then they turn their backs on the very people that God has commanded us to love and care for – the sick, the poor and the less fortunate. But really, we are commanded to care for and love all humankind. I was once shown a youtube video from a “christian” perspective that showed how our christian country, religion and race will soon become the minority and eventually be phased-out due to the Muslim world. This video continued to share countless facts, numbers, percentages, pie charts and other scare tactics of how this is currently happening in Europe and how we’re next! It absolutely broke my heart to watch this – not just because of the content, but also because who had shown it to me. When other groups, religious, political, racial etc., are involved, it seems to some that these groups now become people’s identities. As if they have lost their humanness, or their soul and they are now just one of them, whatever that means. Well, I agree with this article that true belief and action are inseparable. What does it mean to love your neighbor? And how does one actually act that out? Recently my wife and I were walking to a restaurant in uptown, a nearby array of trendy shops, bars and restaurants here in Minneapolis. There is a familiar man that sits on one of the corners in an old wheelchair. Now I’ve seen this guy for years – all over the city, he is very recognizable because his feet are deformed, so he has to wear special medical shoes that don’t really look like shoes at all. The last time we had been in Uptown we walked by him and he asked if I could spare some change. We literally had no change on us, just our debit cards. I said to him, ” Sorry man – I would, but I don’t have any cash on me.” As soon as I turned, I heard him ask another woman who appeared to be close to our age. As he asked her, she responded that she didn’t have any cash on her either. Then she proceeded to say, let my run across the street to McDonald’s and get you something to eat – what do you want? At this point we had crossed the street and I could no longer hear their conversation. Wow, I thought, I could have done that. Ever since that happened, I’ve battled in my mind feelings of guilt versus feelings of logic. Am I actually supposed to go and buy lunch for every single person I pass that asks me for change? Well, maybe I am. Maybe I should buy a meal for every person that asks me for change, until the day comes that I need a meal and don’t have the resources/ability to do it on my own. So, is a Big Mac really worth all this trouble? I interpret this scripture to mean exactly this – be doers, not merely hearers who deceive themselves. Thats what I do every time I walk by someone who asks for cash when I don’t have it – I deceive myself into thinking, I couldn’t help because I don’t have cash – even though there is an ATM on just about every corner. I know I can’t save the world, but I want to strive to be a doer of the word in the God-lead life I strive to live. I want to view all humans as my brothers and sisters, God-made souls – regardless of anything, yes anything. This article was written about immigration and the christian perspective of it, but I think it relates to so many other issues as well. Let me end with this scripture from Matthew discussing the greatest commandment.

peace, kev.

‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:37-40)

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3 Responses to “be doers of the word.”

  1. 1 Ben Swanson

    Great post!

    The revolution Jesus intended to start looks like love in action. Love is revealed by our actions, not by saying, “I love you.”

    Faith without action does not exist. Faith is revealed by our actions, not by our statements of faith.

    Jesus said that he so identifies with the poor that when we offer a drink of water, a meal, or visit them in prison, we do so unto him! I look forward to you blogging about your experiment with doing faith and love…

  2. 2 Ben Swanson

    Are you opposed to paragraph breaks?

    🙂

  3. Haha. Paragraph breaks, that’s a great idea. I don’t intentionally avoid them, I have no idea why I haven’t used them… here’s to trying new things in the future!


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