Posted by: brittany marie | June 13, 2008

an orange upon the desk

I’m writing this from work.

Bad, I know.

And I haven’t posted anything in a while.

Also bad.

So, I’ve had some major family drama occur. I experienced some new things at my church that have forced me to reevaluate some opinions I hold. Gas prices are soaring and have severely limited the amount of traveling I could be doing. I’m also in Georgia and missing out on a fantastic road trip with friends to Maine. My father is in Australia for two weeks and I’m headed off to Central America in a little over two days.

However, the only concern on my mind is whether or not I should eat the lopsided navel orange sitting next to my water bottle on the desk or perhaps I could wait and eat it in an hour when I have to run a bunch of errands.

Praise the Lord for the power of Christ to have contentment in the moment.

Here is an email from a group bible study I’ve been participating in over the summer.

James 5:7-12
I think overall that I understood this passage until verse 15. I’m a skeptic so when it comes to passages about healing I have little patience. I shouldn’t because if I profess a faith in the God that created the universe then why should I have trouble believing he will heal those I love?

So, I decided to sit for a while on verse 15 and onward. But that led to more questions. For instance, my bible titles the previous section as “Patience in Suffering.” I immediately think of suffering as in persecution…but instead, James is writing about being patient with our brothers…to not grumble against them. (The Greek literally translated is “to groan.”)

I then found it interesting that the prophet James brings to memory is Job. Job suffered through loss…but also through three friends who proved to have worthless advice, but continued to give it daily. And Job put up with them. So, I wonder if James isn’t just talking about situations but also people…

Also, verse 16 caught my eye. The words “sins” in my NIV translation isn’t the same in Greek. Basically, 1 John 1:9 uses the word “hamartia” for sins which refers to the greatest moral obliquity. The word in James 5:16 is “paraptoma” which is translated as a false step or a blunder. The Vines Exposition site says something interesting about this word and its use, reading that “in Jas. 5:16, AV, “faults” (RV, “sins” translates the word hamartias, which is found in the best texts), auricular confession to a priest is not in view here or anywhere else in Scripture; the command is comprehensive, and speaks either of the acknowledgement of sin where one has wronged another, or of the unburdening of a troubled conscience to a godly brother whose prayers will be efficacious, or of open confession before the church.”

I got the feeling that the word here is more relational and intimate…between people and within their interactions…possibly the hurtful things we do against one another, or even the grudges we can hold…the lack of grace that we extend to one another.

And then I wondered if the person confessing their sins was the sick person or the one praying…either way, it’s needed. But I thought it would be interesting to know where the emphasis lay. I normally assumed it was the sick person who had to confess, but in the following sentence it is declared the prayers of a righteous man are powerful and effective. I wonder if the person praying has a greater weight upon his shoulders to admit to the wrong he has caused against another…to come with a clean heart as he intercedes for another.

Remember, a righteous man is not a perfect man. Merely a man who lives rightly, not perfectly. Perhaps a righteous man is also a man who admits fault.

I have more questions, but I think I’ve written enough already….however, I do want to encourage you all. I think this passage really emphasizes the relational aspect of a believer’s walk. A person, a Christian in particular, cannot live alone…no man is an island. It seems that James reveals something deeper here…and much more serious. Something that I think should concern most of us, myself especially.

He seems to offer the idea that how you interact with your fellow believers can affect your interaction with God…to the point of preventing healing in your life or another’s.

I can attest to that. This past year especially I have been the recipient of forgiveness and grace several times…and I’ve been fortunate enough to extend them in return. And it does take confession…a good dose of honest blood-boiling confession.

But the results are beautiful.

grace and peace


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