“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” (James 1:27)
Murmuring and complaining are not good for any of us to be guilty of. I think it is just as bad to sit and listen to it as well.
It would be absurd to think that my mind would be clear of negative thoughts if I were to sit and allow someone to interject negative statements to me on a regular basis.
As the old saying goes, “Trash-in equals trash-out.”
James uses the words “pure” and “undefiled” as they are related to religion. Religion first of all is an earthly practice, seen by men, to express or exhibit a heavenly position that has been granted by God.
James is encouraging us to practice being pure and undefiled. He gives us a few practical things that we can do, “To visit the fatherless and widows.” The “fatherless” are those who are under no authority; and the “widows” are those who have no protection and no provision. We are to do these things because the love in us constrains us to do them; not because it is to be seen by men, or so that we can boast about it.
To understand our Position in Christ before a pure and holy, undefiled God is to know that our Salvation is secure; because He is the One responsible for giving it and for keeping it eternally. But our Practice, as followers of Christ through the Power of the Holy Spirit, is our responsibility here on earth day by day.
“If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” (1 Corinthians 3:17)
This Scripture lets us know that there is a possibility for us as Christians to be defiled. And a warning of destruction is given as well for those guilty of defilement; destruction is promised to come from God. And the Bible lets us know that He will be Just in doing so; because He is the One who knows our hearts. He knows the true motives behind our every action. He knows if we are just going along with the program, or if we are showing true passion and compassion.
“And of some have compassion, making a difference:” (Jude 1:22)
It would be a hard thing, I believe, to show compassion to someone who I have received and begun to believe a negative report about. Why? Because “…man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).
So not listening to a negative report will be helpful in having “pure religion.” Our being obedient, regardless of what our eyes see, or our ears hear, is what truly matters.
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
The above Scripture reveals how God did not receive our negative report. Amen!