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Jane Olson

READ : James 2:1-13

So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. (v. 12)

Martin Luther King Jr. famously remarked that eleven o'clock on Sunday morning was the most segregated hour in America. Though Christians have made some strides in racial reconciliation since King's time, most of our congregations show that his observation still rings true. People in my church are mostly like me: college educated and middle class.

Today's passage raises some challenging questions: How comfortable are we associating with people who are different? How good are we at loving the people whom the world despises? James stresses that Christians are called to more than mere tolerance; we must love our neighbors as ourselves.

We “are to be judged under the law of liberty.” Aren't “law” and “liberty” contradictory? The paradox of the Christian life is that we are set free—to serve others! We have liberty to be gracious to our fellow sinners, to extend to others the same mercy, love, and grace that Christ showed to us.

We all know that we should love our neighbors as ourselves but find it incredibly hard to do that. Thankfully, God has given us the church to practice our “loving skills” before we take them out into the wider world. Begin this week by thinking of the people in your own church whom you find difficult to love. Then do something to show it.


Lord, give me the grace this week to show your mercy to those I find difficult to love.