Scripture  James 2:12-13   Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.


Observation-What does it say?  The book of James gives practical advice on Christian conduct and it covers a variety of subjects: rich and poor, pride and humility, wisdom, patience, prayer, controlling the tongue- and most importantly, faith and action.  James addresses works as a display of our faith.  Real faith shows in the way we behave and act.  The beginning of the chapter talks about the way we show partiality between the rich and the poor.  At the end of the chapter, James gives us examples of how faith is displayed in works, and people in the Old Testament who were honored because of the actions.  


Understanding-What does it mean?  I have been with my department for nearly 13 years.  Like everyone else, I started my career working in the jail and also spent some time working in the courthouse.  I have been on patrol for over six years, making me one of the most experienced patrol deputies on the department.  Now, as newer deputies transition from working in the jail to working “on the streets,” I see some pretty strange decisions being made.  To be fair, I made the same type of decisions and had the same struggles when I was new to patrol.


One morning, while having coffee with one of my friends, who is also a more seasoned patrol deputy, he began to ask me why I was taking so much interest in two newer deputies who were struggling with the transition from jail work to patrol work.  Even though I have done my fair share of complaining about their behavior and work habits, something had clicked in my perspective that made me realize my tenure put me in a position of responsibility.  I had the responsibility to make my new partners better.  Realistically, standing around complaining about their behavior wouldn’t ever change anything.  But, if I humbled myself, knowing that I had made the same mistakes before, I could help them get better.


Similarly, if we take a look at people who are struggling in places that we are not, whether they be homeless, addicted to wine, frequent gossips, etc., and we judge them for their behavior, then we lose an opportunity to share God’s love with them.  Sometimes, we shy away from helping because we feel unqualified.  But, James uses the example of Rahab, who had been a harlot.  She put her faith above her past, believing that God could do good even through her.  

Life Application  God, your word tells us we are new creations in you (2 Corinthians 5:17).  With this in mind, help me to look at people through your eyes.  Help me find ways to be the love that people who are hurting need.  Give me the humility to remember that I am saved by grace and it isn’t a result of my works (Ephesians 2:8-9).  

-Tyler Galloway