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.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Here’s some difficult advice: do not complain about one another. Imagine living this advice out for 24 hours: no complaints about an annoying habit of a family member, that rude driver or political figure. Quickly we may find ourselves quite resistant to the suggestion!
But James gives us reasons to try. To complain does not mean thinking that everything others do is good. Rather it is remember that God alone is the merciful judge who knows another’s reality. Before I was a mother, I was sure that I would “never” let my children cry in a restaurant. How quickly we let go of such judgments when we experience the reality! We learn our way into compassion.
Instead we can focus on ourselves, not others: our yeses and nos. Today, how do I want to focus on my own actions so that I might better live as a person of integrity?
—Marina McCoy is an associate professor of philosophy at Boston College.
Lord, let me remember the many times that you have been wonderfully compassionate to me. Today, as I encounter my brothers and sisters in this great human family, help me to recall how much I, too, am in need of your mercy. Instead of judging others, help me to focus on how I can live out this day with integrity and compassion. Amen.