James 21My brothers, you believe in our Lord, the wonderful Jesus Christ. So you must not think one man is better than another. 2A man comes in to your church meeting. He has a gold ring and wears fine clothes. A poor man also comes in. He wears old clothes. 3You look at the man who wears fine clothes. And you say to him, ‘Sit here on this good chair.’ But you say to the poor man, ‘Stand over there,’ or you say, ‘Sit on the floor by my feet.’ 4If you do these things, you think some people are better than others. You are wrong when you judge people this way. 5Listen, my dear brothers. God has chosen people who are poor in this world. They believe very much. They will have a place in the kingdom which he has promised to give to those who love him. 6But you made the poor man ashamed. Is it not the rich people who trouble you? Are not they the ones who take you to court? 7Are not they the ones who say wrong things about the good name you have? 8The holy writings say, ‘Love your neighbour as you love yourself.’ If you obey this law of your King you do well. 9But if you think one man is better than another, that is wrong. The law says you are a bad person. 10Anyone who obeys the law, but then breaks one of the laws, has broken all the laws. 11God made the law, ‘Do not use sex wrongly.’ God also made the law, ‘Do not kill’.If you do not have wrong sex, but you kill, you have broken the law. 12There is a law that makes people free. It is the law of showing kindness. Always talk and live like men who will be judged by that law. 13When God judges, he will not be kind to a person who has not been kind. It is better to be kind than it is to judge people. 14My brothers, perhaps a man says, ‘I believe.’ What good is that if he does not do anything? Can just believing save him? 15Perhaps a brother or a sister needs clothes and has no food. 16Perhaps one of you says to them, ‘God bless you. Be warm. Eat all you want.’ But what good is that if you do not give them what they need for their bodies? 17Believing is like that. If it does not do anything it is no good. Belief by itself is dead. 18In that case someone may say, ‘You believe. And I do good things. Try to show me that you believe without doing any acts of kindness. I will show you that I believe by doing acts of kindness.’ 19You believe that there is one God. That is right. But even the bad spirits believe that. And they shake with fear. 20You are foolish! Believing is no good if it does not do anything good. Do you want to know that for sure? 21Look at Abraham. God called our father Abraham a good man. This was because he gave his son Isaac to God on the holy table for a sacrifice. 22You can see he believed. His faith and the things he did worked together. His believing was made all right because he did something. 23The words of the holy writings came true. They say, ‘Abraham believed God. And he was called a good man because of it.’ In another place he was called ‘God’s friend.’ 24You see, a man is a good man because of the things he does, and not just because he believes. 25Rahab was a bad woman. But in the same way God called her a good woman because of something she did. She took the men into her house and then let them go out another way. 26A body is dead if it does not breathe. In the same way, believing is dead if it does not do anything good.
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