Each person alike is created in God’s context. To do good to the other is to show love to God in whose image he or she is created.
22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
Observation and reflection questions
- Summarise verses 22-25 in one short sentence.
- What is the “perfect law of liberty” which James refers to? (hint: mirror… Matthew 22:39)
- What does this “perfect law” have to do with visiting orphans and widows? (verse 27)
- How do you understand the relationship between passivity and self-deception in this context? (verse 22)
Personal reflection and application questions
- When it comes to “love your neighbour as you love yourself”, are you in the danger of “being a hearer and not a doer”? Why would you say so?
- If you were a homeless person, an orphan or a widow, what would you like others to do to you? Make a list.
- Do you know any widows, orphans or homeless people that are struggling? Or which orphanages, homeless shelters or old age homes are in your vicinity? Make a list. (Google it?)
- From your list above (point 2), what can you do to show love to one of these groups of people? When will you do it?
Thank God for his love, and pray that you would be able to show his love to others – especially to those less prosperous and less powerful than yourself today.