RESPECT, HUMILITY, and GOD’S WISDOM
James 3:17-18 (MSG)
17 Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced.
18 You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.
“Nothing is more distasteful to God than self-conceit. The first and fundamental sin in essence aims at enthroning self at the expense of God… Pride is a sin whose presence its victim is least conscious… If we are honest, when we measure ourselves by the life of our Lord who humbled himself even to death on a cross we cannot but be overwhelmed with the tawdriness and shabbiness and even vileness, of our hearts.” –J. Oswald Sanders, Spiritual leadership
According to the book of James, God’s wisdom is seen in the way we deal with people. There will be things in this world that we will never fully comprehend. Sometimes, the sad part is, people are quick to talk but slow to listen. Instead of having a cup that is empty, our cups are too full to take in something fresh. Because of that, people are filled with pride. They take pride in the little things that they know. Instead of building the bridge of respect, they begin to build walls of judging others. For that, they close themselves to the secret that life has to offer. Searching for God’s wisdom takes humility.
God’s wisdom basically means knowing how to live. We are to be a people of action. This is true religion: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight and guard against corruption from the godless world.
James 2:8 (MSG)
8 You do well when you complete the Royal Rule of the Scriptures: “Love others as you love yourself.”
In the movie, “Fearless”, Huo Yuanjia [Jet Li] is preparing for a duel. But instead of one on one, “friendly competition,” the rule was changed into “four is to one”. At that time the Chinese were regarded as people who do not deserve to receive respect. They were considered to be the “sick man of Asia.”
One of the opponents of Huo Yuanjia, is a Japanese named Tanaka. He feels that something is wrong with the rules. But because the contest was already signed in, he could no longer turn back.
One day, he invited Huo Yuanjia to have a cup of tea with him. It is so that he would know his opponent. While they were in the garden the host, Tanaka, began making tea for the both of them.
Tanaka started the conversation by saying [not the exact words], “There are different level types of tea for a Japanese. One tea is superior from that of the other. And there are others that would belong to a third class of tea.”
Then Huo Yuanjia began speaking out his thoughts, “For a Chinese, there are no different level types for tea. One is simply having a different mood from the other as they would drink tea. Tea doesn’t judge themselves but the people who drink them do.”
With that, Tanaka immediately revealed the things that he really meant to ask, “Do you mean to say that one kind of martial art is not superior or inferior to others?”
“That is what I am saying,” answered back Huo Yuanjia. “There is no martial art that is better than the other. Every art has a unique style. The advantages and disadvantages of the art lie within the artist who is practicing them. One may be better because he knew his art well. One may be bad because he lacked the practice.”
The profoundness of his answer and his humble attitude caused Tanaka’s respect to grow towards Huo Yuanjia.
There is a saying that goes this way:
Pride is the only disease known to man that makes everyone sick except the person who has it. –Buddy Robinson, quoted in Lloyd Cory, Quote Unquote
The other one is this:
Nothing is more distasteful to God than self-conceit. The first and fundamental sin in essence aims at enthroning self at the expense of God… Pride is a sin whose presence its victim is least conscious… If we are honest, when we measure ourselves by the life of our Lord who humbled himself even to death on a cross we cannot but be overwhelmed with the tawdriness and shabbiness and even vileness, of our hearts. –J. Oswald Sanders, Spiritual leadership
For that Huo Yuanjia has won the heart of his opponent.