The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy – James 3:17
What a wonderful, and revealing, description of heavenly wisdom!
When we become embittered or angry with another person, even a spouse or a fellow church member, we can justify a great variety of cruel words, divisive gossip, or vengeful actions. Sadly, we can even begin to think of ourselves as being in the right while we spread lies or exaggerate offenses or nurse grudges.
But the ever-practical pastor James reminds us not to “glory in” or be proud of the bitterness, anger, strife that is in our heart (14). No matter how objective and genuine our grievance may be, we make ourselves immediately in the wrong when we respond in a way that is dishonoring to Christ.
No matter what the argument or hurt may be, James says, remember that heavenly wisdom is pure, peaceable, gentle, and easy to be approached. Godly wisdom is full of mercy, so it looks over personal injuries; it is full of good fruits so it responds with a formidable love when attacked or provoked.
A truly wise response will also be without partiality or favoritism. It does not judge someone because of past mistakes, or personality flaws, or family ties. A mature Christian will react with the same forbearance and discretion and charity to a near stranger as they will to a family member (or visa versa!).
Dear Christian, is your present thought life and behavior reflecting the kind of wisdom that comes from above, or the kind that is earthly, unspiritual, and devilish?