Published August 28th, 2017
Main point summary
Religion is worthless if it doesn't result in compassionate action toward suffering and a pure life different from the world.
If anyone thinks he is religious
If any person thinks he's religious
q and does not bridle his tongue
but doesn't control his speech,
but deceives his heart,
then he deceives himself
this person’s r religion is worthless.
and proves his religion is worthless.
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this:
But true religion, according to God, is different:
s to visit t orphans and widows in their affliction,
that is , you help orphans and widows who are troubled
and u to keep oneself v unstained from the world.
and live differently than the world.
A relationship with Jesus is first an inward thing. He wants to transform us. We cannot follow his way by just changing our behavior. But the reality is that inward change will produce outward change. If our speech and actions are not changing as a result of following him, then perhaps we aren't really following him. Perhaps we're just following a different set of rules. Each religion has rules.
Other religions also teach their followers to help the poor or distressed. What is different about the way of Jesus? Perhaps it's the visiting part? We don't just give money or log our volunteer hours to check off a requirement, but we should take time to listen carefully, to cry with the hurting, to offer service with prayer--all as ways of actually entering into the other person's suffering?