Reflection: James points out that not taking control of our speech represents a serious question mark on our faith (He will develop this more fully in chapter 3). He then turns to what true religion is – and it is all about caring for the world’s poor and avoiding the world’s perversions. “Orphans and widows” were the most underprivileged and vulnerable group in the ancient world, and the message is clear, that the duty of the follower of Jesus is to address their need. The Bible just assumes that we will contribute to the poor (Matthew 19:21; Luke 11:41, 12:33, 19:8; Acts 9:36), and sees this as a reflection of Christ’s mercy and the command to love our neighbour. The early church took this seriously and there is ample opportunity for believers to show God’s love in supporting the poor today.
Question: Who are the “widows and orphans” today who you are called to support and care for?
Prayer: Heavenly Father forgive me the times I have been hard-hearted towards those in need. Fill me with your Spirit of generosity and mercy to take care of those who are less fortunate than me. Amen