Thought for the Day
Verse 13 – We can ignore the plight of those less fortunate than we, but if we do, our cries for help will likewise be ignored when we have a need. To ignore something is to refuse to look at it. We may pass by needy people as if they do not exist, but remember, we reap what we sow. We don’t know what kind of trials we may face in the future. Someday, we may greatly need someone to be merciful to us. In a sense, we can “store up” mercy so that the Lord will be merciful to us when we need it. “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7). If we show mercy to the poor and weak, the Lord will move people to help us in our time of need. “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17). Failing to help the poor is to commit a sin of omission. True faith in God causes us to reach out to the poor and helpless. “If a brother or sister is poorly clad and lacks food for each day, And one of you says to him, Goodbye! Keep (yourself) warm and well fed, without giving him the necessities for the body, what good does that do? So also faith if it does not have works (deeds and actions of obedience to back it up), by itself is destitute of power – inoperative, dead” (James 2:15-17, AMP).
Verse 14 – The dictionary defines “bribe,” as “something, such as money or a favor, that is offered or given to a person in a position of trust in order to influence that person’s views or conduct.” The wording of this verse suggests underhanded dealing between the parties involved. The silence (or cooperation) of people without morals can be easily bought. Money was not as widely used in ancient times as today; and items of value, or “gifts” were often used as bribes. Today, the wicked use monetary bribes as gifts or pay-offs to deal with people’s anger. We think of a bribe as something only wicked people such as mobsters might employ, but the principle of bribery can be subtle. Giving a child a treat or a toy to stop a tantrum is really a form of bribery. The adult uses a treat to bribe the child into good behavior, and the child learns to use his bad behavior to get what he wants. The adult is twice guilty in such a case: first, guilty of not loving the child enough to teach him to obey out of respect, and secondly guilty of teaching the child to disrespect his parent and bring a curse upon himself. We need the Holy Spirit’s help to diligently follow God’s ways