Oppressors, Victims, and a Just God
Contemporary culture is often pegged as self-indulgent: We live in a have-it-now world, and we don’t always think about the repercussions of our actions. But when we read James’ letter to the early church, we find that self-indulgence isn’t a modern phenomenon.
In his letter James addresses two groups of people. First, he reprimands the self-indulgent rich who live without thinking about the repercussions of their actions, either for others or for themselves. The day is coming when they will have to account for all their evil deeds: “Come now, you rich people, weep and cry over the miseries that are coming upon you!” (Jas 5:1). James presents them with a harsh picture of what they have been doing: “You have fattened your hearts in the day of slaughter” (Jas 5:5). They have behaved like animals; their judgment will come.
James also writes to a second group: those who are oppressed. He encourages this group to be patient “until the coming of t…