James 4:11-17 … Judging other people is not our calling (James 4:11-12). Jesus spoke to this in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7:1-5) where we are to exercise discernment, but not be judgmental. Something I’ve learned over the years, in two complementary dimensions, is this: First, look for the best in people; everybody has some good attributes that we ought to identify, compliment and encourage. Second is a contemporary proverb … “if you can’t say something good (about someone), don’t say anything at all.”
James 4:13-15 is expressing the temporary aspect of life. None of us knows how long we’ll live; it’s totally unpredictable. God knows but it’s not revealed to us. The admonition is (v.15) to pursue the will of God in our lives, and in doing that, it won’t matter at all whether God grants length or brevity to our days of mortal life. We simply need to keep in mind that our perspective (most of the time) is mortal … this present life. God’s perspective is immortal and eternal. James 4:16 and 4:17 seem to be separate thoughts. Verse 16 discourages boasting and frankly, boasting is unbecoming, arrogant, prideful behavior. Verse 17 clarifies the matter of sin. When we know the right thing to do and don’t do it, that’s sin.
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