Thoughts for the Day

Friday, 25th February 2022: Crossing our fingers

God Judgement James 5 Sin

Reading : Verses from James, Chapter 5


* The Prophet Jeremiah by Michelangelo

Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors! As an example of suffering and patience, beloved, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Indeed we call blessed those who showed endurance. You have heard of the endurance of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.

Above all, my beloved, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your ‘Yes’ be yes and your ‘No’ be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.

(Church in Wales Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)


This passage from the letter of James reminds me of the little boy I met who having heard parts of Psalm 139 said he hid behind his bedroom door when he he'd done something wrong, because God couldn't see him there. We are not completely sure who the writer was. It's unlikely to have been one of the sons of Zebedee whom Jesus called from their fishing to be disciples, or even James the brother of Jesus, as the level of Greek needed to write this epistle is likely to have been beyond them. Whoever it was though, taught us a lot about how to live the Christian life.

He says, for instance, that we are not to 'grumble against one another' for God is waiting to judge us. We are to be patient, and he cites the prophets as examples of those who stoically suffered hardship. Finally he says we are not to swear oaths, so we shouldn't say, "I swear on my mother's life that I will keep my Lenten promises!" For Hebrews, oaths could be binding or non-binding. If the name of God was used it was a binding oath, if not it was rather like keeping your fingers crossed behind your back when making a promise.

We are to persist in living the life that God calls us to, whatever the problems, and not try and hide from God when we go wrong, or cross our fingers and hope that He doesn't notice we don't mean to keep our promise to Him. We are to admit our errors to God, then start afresh, and try harder the next time!


Heavenly Father,
we are sorry for the times
we have hidden, or tried
to run away from You;
and for the times we have
broken our promises to You,
knowing full-well that we
didn't intend to keep them.
Help us to face You honestly,
admit our mistakes,
and begin again with fresh resolve
to keep our intentions.

Follow Up Thoughts

You might like to explore the hardships that the prophet Jeremiah suffered with such patience. The last one is quite horrific:

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