Life isn’t fair. We all know it—we can see the unfairness around us.
But, why is it that some people are born with a silver spoon in their mouth while others are born into abject poverty? And, why is it that some people, who should know better, go out of their way to make our lives miserable?
Well, James doesn’t address the “whys” of our questions, but he does give us advice as to how to deal with these matters of inequality and injustice: we must be long-suffering like Job and the prophets.
But, that doesn’t sound like any fun. Well, it isn’t However, there is Good News.
The Bottom Line: Christ is standing in the doorway as the one who can set things right, and he is compassionate and merciful to those who are long-suffering.
Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors! As an example of suffering and patience, beloved, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Indeed we call blessed those who showed endurance. You have heard of the endurance of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
Above all, my beloved, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “Yes” be yes and your “No” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation. (NRSV)
So be patient, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s return. Think of how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the ground and is patient for it until it receives the early and late rains. You also be patient and strengthen your hearts, for the Lord’s return is near. Do not grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be judged. See, the judge stands before the gates! As an example of suffering and patience, brothers and sisters, take the prophets who spoke in the Lord’s name. Think of how we regard as blessed those who have endured. You have heard of Job’s endurance and you have seen the Lord’s purpose, that the Lord is full of compassion and mercy. And above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath. But let your “Yes” be yes and your “No” be no, so that you may not fall into judgment. (NET)
So, brothers, be long-suffering until the arrival of the Lord. Look: The farmer awaits the precious fruit of the earth, remaining patient over it until it receives the early and the late rains. You be patient too, strengthen your hearts, for the Lord’s arrival has drawn near. Do not murmur against one another, brothers, so that you might not be judged—look: The judge is standing before the doors! Brothers, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord for an example of suffering evil and of patience. Look: We consider those who persevere blissful. You have heard of Job’s endurance and you have seen the ending that came from the Lord—that the Lord is lavishly compassionate and merciful. But before all else, my brothers, do not swear—neither by the heaven nor by the earth nor by any other object of oaths; rather let your “Yes” be “Yes” and your “No” be “No,” so that you may not fall under judgment. (David Bentley Hart)
So be patient, my brothers and sisters, for the appearing of the Lord. You know how the farmer waits for the valuable crop to come up from the ground. He is patient over it, waiting for it to receive the early rain and then the late rain. In the same way, you must be patient, and make your hearts strong, because the appearing of the Lord is near at hand. Don’t grumble against one another, my brothers and sisters, so that you may not be judged. Look – the judge is standing at the gates! Consider the prophets, my brothers and sisters, who spoke in the name of the Lord. Take them as an example of longsuffering and patience. When people endure, we call them ‘blessed by God’. Well, you have heard of the endurance of Job; and you saw the Lord’s ultimate purpose. The Lord is deeply compassionate and kindly.
Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear. Don’t swear by heaven; don’t swear by earth; don’t use any other oaths. Let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No’ be ‘No’. That way, you will not fall under judgment. (N.T. Wright)
Μακροθυμήσατε οὖν, ἀδελφοί, ἕως τῆς παρουσίας τοῦ κυρίου. ἰδοὺ ὁ γεωργὸς ἐκδέχεται τὸν τίμιον καρπὸν τῆς γῆς μακροθυμῶν ἐπʼ ⸀αὐτῷ ἕως ⸆ λάβῃ ⸇ πρόϊμον καὶ ὄψιμον. μακροθυμήσατε ⸆ καὶ ὑμεῖς, στηρίξατε τὰς καρδίας ὑμῶν, ὅτι ἡ παρουσία τοῦ κυρίου ⸇ ἤγγικεν. μὴ στενάζετε, ⸂ἀδελφοί, κατʼ ἀλλήλων⸃ ἵνα μὴ κριθῆτε· ἰδοὺ ὁ κριτὴς πρὸ τῶν θυρῶν ἕστηκεν. ὑπόδειγμα ⸀λάβετε, ἀδελφοί, τῆς ⸁κακοπαθίας καὶ τῆς μακροθυμίας ⸆ τοὺς προφήτας οἳ ἐλάλησαν oἐν τῷ ὀνόματι ⸀1κυρίου. ἰδοὺ μακαρίζομεν τοὺς ⸀ὑπομείναντας· τὴν ὑπομονὴν Ἰὼβ ἠκούσατε καὶ τὸ ⸁τέλος κυρίου ⸀1εἴδετε, ὅτι ⸀2πολύσπλαγχνός ἐστιν ⸂ὁ κύριος⸃ καὶ οἰκτίρμων.
Πρὸ πάντων δέ, ἀδελφοί μου, μὴ ὀμνύετε μήτε τὸν οὐρανὸν μήτε τὴν γῆν μήτε ⸉ἄλλον τινὰ ὅρκον⸊· ἤτω δὲ ⸆ ὑμῶν τὸ ναὶ ναὶ καὶ τὸ οὒ οὔ, ἵνα μὴ ⸂ὑπὸ κρίσιν⸃ πέσητε.
What is The Way?
Fr. Dustin Lyon explores scripture to rediscover Christianity so that we can walk in the Way of the Lord.