Unstained by the World….
With temptation and corruption all around us, it can be difficult to remain unstained by the world:
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world. -James 1:27, NAB
How do we stop the corruption of the world from affecting our lives? How do we hold tightly to a faith that is pure? If you can answer that question, good things are in store.
Today’s verse gives us a hint. St. James calls us to care for the orphans and widows, and it goes beyond that. Orphans and widows represent those in greatest need in our society. They may face poverty and need financial assistance. They are in need of healing, so we must be there to help. They may feel alone and need someone to show them love.
Beyond the widows and orphans, we need to care for everyone in need. We need to shelter the homeless, feed the poor, nurse the sick, and care for the elderly. Our goal must be to love our neighbor with all of our heart.
How does this keep us unstained by the world?
The world will have its influence on us, but in the end, the stains come from our own selfish choices. By putting our wants and desires above the needs of others, our selfish actions leave us stained with sin and corruption.
The answer to this problem is self-sacrifice. We are to follow the model of Christ who sacrificed Himself on the cross. He gave everything for the sake of others, and St. James is challenging us to do the same.
The only way to remain unstained by the world is to give everything you have for the sake of others instead. A religion that is pure and undefiled is less about you and more about what you can do for others.