Passage: Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter. You have condemned, you have murdered the just; he does not resist you.
Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door! My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord -- that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.
But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your "Yes," be "Yes," and your "No," "No," lest you fall into judgment.
Journal: The final portion of this passage is emphasized by James ("But above all, my brethren . . ."). It appears to be rather straight forward. Yet, I wonder if I get his full meaning. Certainly, there is a call to veracity here, as what we say is absolutely indicative of our nature. Also, there is a plea to have a man's word be his word without an extra requirement of being truthful at the moment or for a particular purpose (". . . do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath."). A man that cannot be trusted, that cannot be taken at his word, cannot be used for God's glory to the full extent that God's glory dictates. That is, how can one be a messenger of truth if truth is not central to one's being? There is a temptation to fudge a bit on the little things and pretend it will go unnoticed. Here, there is the obvious ramification of eternal consideration and evaluation. The sin takes this into account and ignores it. However, the tendency to believe that the small indiscretions will go unnoticed in our sphere of influence may be a miscalculation. In fact, I know how closely I watch others to try to get a good reading on just how much I feel I can trust them. Often, friendships will go only as deep as this perceived trust factor. This often means that I observe the small things that others say and do. Why would I think that others would not be evaluating me in a similar manner? There is considerable judgment here. Most importantly, God will hold me accountable. Another important consideration is that others are holding me accountable, even if it is simply an internal evaluation of the man before them. ("But let your "Yes," be "Yes," and your "No," "No," lest you fall into judgment.") I suppose that fudging on the little things is a gateway lie, leading one into a web of deception. A man not known for truth is a man unable to live for truth.