Marjorie on James 5:19-20

Two verses and still a lot to say…

“Cover a multitude of sins” — hmmm…sounds dangerous, like ‘saving’ others will help us earn our way to heaven. How does one ‘save’ another anyway? In my enthusiasm for Christ, how can I know that I haven’t turned more people away than I’ve brought? And I am not doing much of anything, anyway. I’m afraid I have a greater talent at alienating people than…than what, exactly? Saving them? Persuading them? Selling them on Jesus?

What am I supposed to be doing anyway?

I’m not a salesman for Jesus — I tried and failed, miserably. He doesn’t need me selling him anyway. What I CAN be is someone who loves God and Jesus and who earnestly seeks after righteousness, to become holy (which will never happen, but its the quest). Sure, some people won’t like me. But maybe to others I can be a friend, a comfort, a companion when they feel lonely in their quest. Maybe thats all I can be. Maybe thats exactly what God wants me to be. What a joy, to think I might be who God intends me to be.

In this passage, I definitely don’t understand ‘cover’ing. I’m a Creedal gal, I believe Christ died that my sins might be forgiven, not covered. What is this covering? One conclusion is that saving others requires seeking righteousness in myself. If I am endeavoring to do this, hopefully, I won’t be sinning. But maybe the one whose sins are covered is the one we are leading from error. Whose sins? What covering? I trust that if God has a message for me in this one, he will reveal it. Otherwise, I shrug my shoulders and say ‘mystery of faith.’ I do that a lot.

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7 responses

  1. What I CAN be is someone who loves God and Jesus and who earnestly seeks after righteousness, to become holy (which will never happen, but its the quest).That is the heart of it isn’t it?By the way, “holy” means set apart for God’s purpose(s). You became holy the day you committed yourself to the spiritual life.

  2. I think you’re right, Marjorie, about being a slaesman for Jesus. I’ve only tried to talk to one person about considering getting to know Jesus, my mom when she was terminally ill. It was a bad idea – she accused me of trying to “convert” her and she was upset.

  3. As a part of their training for the ministry, seminary students (at least in Canada) spend one summer on a chaplaincy training placement — usually in a hospital. One of the things they are STRONGLY warned AGAINST is “selling fire insurance”.

  4. The best way to speak to others about your faith is by your actions and the way you conduct yourself, far over and above words – and I am a salesman in “real life!”When others ask you what you’re into – that is saying something.Besides, how many times have we all seen a “professor” and consider them a hypocrite after a while because their actions don’t match their words?Fox and the early Quakers wanted to see some manifestation in a person’s life, and their own too. It remains the single most effective way to speak to people about the subject! But it needs patience to do it that way, and we don’t put much of a premium on patience anymore.

  5. David said … they are STRONGLY warned AGAINST is “selling fire insurance” …I wasn’t trying to sell her fire insurance because I’m pretty hopeful there is no fire. I was just trying to offer the only thing I could think of that carried hope when she was at a point where there was no more hope. She was scared, she was in despair.

  6. I cannot speak for David, Crystal, but I feel fairly sure that he was not referring to your actions with your mother when he mentioned fire insurance. That is the case of young seminarians who don’t really know the patients who might over-zealously advocate for Christ (they do field work here in the States as well, often in hospitals). We know you loved your mom and only wanted the best for her, to comfort her. I’m sorry for your loss.

  7. Thanks, Marjorie 🙂

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