If anyone thinks himself to be religious,
If anyone considers himself proficient in religion
and yet does not 1 a bridle his tongue
and yet does not check his words
but deceives his own heart,
but lies to his own heart
this man’s religion is worthless.
this man's religion can be thrown away as useless
Pure and undefiled religion a in the sight of our God and Father is this:
Religion that is worth something and that is unspoiled in our Father's estimation is this:
to b visit c orphans and widows in their distress,
To visit people separated from their loved ones in their pain
and to keep oneself unstained 1 by d the world.
and to keep oneself from getting the stain of the world on them
Not checking your words is a way to lie to yourself. The lie is letting the words go unbridled, and in a way that is opposite of where your heart is positioned. The people who think they are religious will do this. This religion makes a show, but is worth nothing. Comparing this to the second part of our passage, this may mean saying things about those people separated from loved ones, and saying things about separating from the world, but it is a lie to your own heart, because your heart is not doing these things. Pure religion is about action, both positively showing God's grace, and by withdrawing from associating with things that would stain a believer, and defile the purity of the devotion to God. This is not lying to yourself. It must be pure, because the heart is acting on what it wants to do.