Be Truly Religious: James 1:25-26

May 5th, 2009

James 1:25-26

 

 1:26.  If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one's religion is useless.
 1:27.  Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

 

Be Truly Religious.

 

There's a story about a traveling salesman who went to a small town. He wanted to have his hair cut, so he could look his best before meeting with his clients the next day. There were two barbers in town and the man sets out to visit their shops before deciding. It was near the close of the day and neither had customers to ask for advice on which was the better barber. The shops weren't very far apart, so he decides to just take a quick glance in each of their windows. He would have time in the morning to get his hair trimmed and be on his way.

The first barber had a neat and tidy appearance. His shop was well equipped, the floor swept, magazines neatly placed on the table in the waiting area. His mirror and barber tools were all spic and span. Everything certainly seemed orderly and professional looking. Walking the few steps up the block, he glanced in the second barber shop. The barber looked a little rumpled. There was hair clippings all over the floor that he was now sweeping. His place was well enough equipped, but his sink was in need of cleaning, mirrors were a little smudged, the magazines were all in disarray. And his hair cut. Not only was it a little long, it looked as if it hadn't been cut very well, and was a bit lopsided.

Which barber would you choose? Would it surprise you to know the salesman chose to visit the second, sloppy barber?

Think about it. Both claimed to be a barber. Both were well equipped as far as their barbaer tools went. Generally, people don't cut their own hair, they have to go to someone else if they want it done well. With only two barbers in town, The neat and tidy barber must have had to go to the sloppy barber to have his hair cut so well. The other's was sloppy and lopsided. The neat barber was able to keep his shop so clean because he didn't have many customers, and he had time to keep things clean. The sloppy looking barber was kept so busy, he hardly had time to keep up with housekeping.

Both barbers claimed to be barbers. One clearly did the job well. aybe his shop didn't look it, but you go to a barber for a good hair cut, not necessarily because he has a flashy environment. The other barber claimed to know his trade, and maybe he did. From the indications of each other's hair, it was clear who actually put his trade into practice.

In that same way, if we are to claim the title of being religious, or a Christian, but don't put the things we learn into practice, we don't show any faith, or confidence in that title. It is very obvious to those who are near us, and even a stranger won't be fooled for long.

There's more to it, but one of the age old sign of a religious person is to care for the orphan and widowed. To live a life to a higher standard than the usual morality and ethics of the world, those that our society, lives by. Even non religious people know that certain behaviors are wrong. Theft, murder, treating others fairly, plus any number of civic laws. In following Biblicl laws we should follow those, but walk a higher path. Our actions should prove out our claims.

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