Calvin for today: on living with ‘others’


This story made news today here in Australia. It reminded me of John Calvin’s words on James 3.1:

For it is to be observed, that James does not discourage those neighbourly admonitions, which the Spirit so often and so much recommends to us, but that immoderate desire to condemn, which proceeds from ambition and pride, when any one exalts themselves against their neighbour, slanders, carps, bites, and malignantly seeks for what they may turn to a sinister purpose: for this is usually done when impertinent censors of this kind insolently boast themselves in the work of exposing the vices of others.

From this outrage and annoyance James recalls us; and he adds a reason, because they who are thus severe towards others shall undergo a heavier judgment: for that person imposes a hard law on themselves, who tries the words and deeds of others according to the rule of extreme rigour; nor do they deserve pardon, who will pardon none. This truth ought to be carefully observed, that they who are too rigid towards others, provoke against themselves the severity of God.

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