In the news today, we see the story of a seasoned reporter infuriating a WH official about his views on this idea of sequestering funds. He states he was told by a senior official in a very clear way, “You will regret doing this.” The reporter said, “It makes me very uncomfortable to have the White House telling reporters you’re going to regret doing something you believe in.”
Then the reporter invented a quote by the President to give him the benefit of the doubt, instead of having a senior official who threaten him represent the President. The made up quote was, “Look we don’t go around trying to say to reporters if you in an honest way present something that we don’t like, “You’re going to regret this.”
In James 4:11, we find him writing concerning another issue erupting in the Jerusalem Church, which seems to be erupting in the news today about freedom of the press. I’m not trying to be political here, but James is going to teach believers they aren’t to be doing what this senior official allegedly did.
It involved people who were seeking to perpetuate their own standing in that church. They were know-it-all’s and full of hot air. Some of them had gone so far as to intentionally destroy the reputation of other Christians in their assembly—to gain what they thought would be control.
One time, an expert in the law asked Jesus what was the foundational commandment in God’s law. You might remember what He answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
In his letter, James is calling followers of Christ to rise above this sort of petty, yet dangerous problem, to put Him back into the planning process and do what they know was right; to live as if God really mattered as our modus operandi. Clearly these folks were in danger not only of deteriorating relationships but damaging their own reputation, to having any impact upon others for Christ.
This is why James quickly moves to his thought in the eleventh verse. He attacks the idea that we are good enough to condemn the next person. When that happens, we have forgotten something and are living as if God doesn’t matter.