13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
Our streets are filled with protesters seeking justice. Our courts hear the cry for justice daily. Facebook posts, tweets, billboards, and ads are crying out for justice. But as judges and juries know, justice can be elusive. How do we grant justice to all? How do we determine what is just? How do we, “Walk humbly with God and love justice”? Our prayer might be that of Solomon, “Grant me wisdom!”
James comes as close to answering these questions as anyone. He speaks of wisdom as being humble, peaceful, gentle, obedient, filled with mercy and good actions, as well as fair and genuine. I should center my thoughts on good actions based on true humility. This is quite different from wisdom based on rules, platitudes, and knowledge.
Wisdom is not a debate with winners and losers. There is wisdom and what imitates wisdom. Jesus often spoke to this when he said, “ You have heard it said, but I say…”. His wisdom sows seeds of peace and justice. Jesus’ wisdom leads to humility and peace, not jealousy, bitterness or selfish ambition. We have seen the results of the latter in this day, but have also glimpsed the wisdom of God at times which leads to peace, justice, gentleness, mercy and fairness. This is an ethic of humility because it is the wise way to live.
How different would our world, our nations, our state, even our lives be if we chose the wisdom of humility? Stop today and question: Are my actions centered on the wisdom of humility?
Dear Lord, as I go about my day, grant me the wisdom of humility. Help me sow seeds of peace and justice as I meet God’s children in everyday activity. Where should I act and where should I pray for insight? May I reflect justice in all I do or say.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version ® NIV ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.