Do Not Grumble
James 5:9 NKJV
2 Corinthians 5:10 NKJV
I really don’t mean to use the same scripture over and over again, but I think God is making a point. I’m not sure if it’s just with me, or if He’s making a point with you as well.
I’ve heard ‘you reap what you sow’ all my life. I knew Paul wrote it to the Church in Galatia. I knew it said “you will reap what you sow”. But…somewhere along the line (even in Seminary) I missed the first two parts of the verse.
What Galatians 6:7 in the New King James Version actually says is, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.”
Paul is warning them they will NOT deceive God. Nothing will get past Him. It’s almost as if God put a major codicil in the text that could not be ignored. It’s like it’s part of the DNA of the universe. He says in James 5:9, “Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!”
In the second part of verse 7, Paul adds a stark warning: “God will NOT be mocked.” When you do not get away with anything, that happened because you WILL not mock God.
The final part of that verse in the NKJV says, “whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.”
In other words if you sow or plant corn, you will not get (reap) a cucumber.
If you lie you will reap distrust.
If you sow truth you will reap trust.
If you take unfair advantage of someone, you will reap selfishness.
But if you sow seeds of giving you will reap love.
I had to be a little older before I started to notice a pattern emerging. I used to thing people who did bad things got away with it. I don’t believe that anymore…evil does come back to them.
So, in James 5:9 when James warned his readers to stop fighting and grumbling against each other, he was telling them they would reap fighting and grumbling. He was warning them they can’t sow corn and get cucumbers.
In our terms, if we spend their time fighting we will not have peace.
So we need to think about that. If we fight and stand against a brother, we will automatically be filled with the feelings of destruction. It may be destruction of the relationship you have with that person, but the fight will result in some level of loss on your part. James wanted the church to see that their actions had immediate personal consequences to their own souls.
I used to tell my three sons if they hit their brother, he will hit them back with equal or greater strength. That’s because we are human. We reap what we sow. If you treat your brother with kindness and forgiveness, you will (sometimes eventually) receive kindness and forgiveness. The reason it eventually comes back is that your history with that person will be a factor. If you’ve not been consistently kind, it may take time.
When James reminded his audience not to grumble and fight he actually meant to stop grumbling and fighting consistently. If we have consistently treated someone in a negative way, it will take time for them to trust us.
That’s because trust takes time. No one knows that more than a sibling. When you have been in a relationship with a brother or a sister for years, you will be able to predict how they will react. So, if you’re 40, and they are 38 years old, you have witnessed that same pattern for decades! Seeing a change in how they respond can be quite a shock, but as time goes on and you start to notice a change in their behavior, you will eventually reciprocate.
James finished James 5:9 with a warning that would make his audience think twice. In James 5:9b he said, “Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!”
James was telling them they would be held accountable for their actions. Jesus is the judge and we will face Jesus. In 2 Corinthians 5:10 we read, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”
Basically, attitude counts.
Being a grandmother gives a person a special perspective. While I love my grandchildren regardless of their grumbling and fighting with their siblings, what I notice things I probably didn’t notice with my own children. I notice their attitudes. I spent most of my time as referee when my children were small. I grew weary of deciding who was right and who was wrong with specific arguments. I’ve noticed that several of my children seem to spend less time dealing with individual squabbles and more time dealing with attitudes.
I think that is what James is doing here. He is reminding his audience to look at the big picture. He wanted them (in general) to consider their attitude. He wanted them to remember that when they face Jesus there might very well be a hard discussion about their attitude. James was trying to get them to change now before that happened.
Today I think we all sometimes need an attitude adjustment. We all need to occasionally be reminded that we will reap what we sow and we will answer for our grumbling attitude. The secret (at least n my life) was in taking time to turn to Jesus to receive peace. I found I couldn’t do it on my own. I needed to relax and let Jesus give me an attitude adjustment…filled with His peace.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Receive Peace
Take your pain, your grumbling, and your sorrow to Jesus. Let Him give you His peace.
In God, Deborah