Wednesday 13 March

21Therefore rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls.

James 1:21 is filled with unusual Greek words that appear only here and are therefore not easy to translate.

I am not sure what precisely James might have been referring to when he instructed his audience to get “rid” of rhyparia and perriseia kakia. Perhaps, “sordidness” or “rank growth of wickedness” are accurate translations. Or it may be that the NIV translators were closer to what James intended when they had James write, “Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent.”

Suffice it to say, there are attitudes, thoughts, behaviours I see at times in my life that I know I would do well to get “rid” of. But can I?

Am I able to simply stop being that selfish, self-centered, frightened little person who seeks affirmation and attention? Do I have the power to “rid” myself of those habits to which I so quickly resort in an attempt to escape facing the reality and pain of my failures?

It seems more honest to acknowledge that, everywhere I turn, I find this small ego-driven little tyrant is present still trying to run the show and build his secure little world.

But perhaps James is not actually telling me to get “rid” of this little dictator that bedevils my life. The Greek word he uses is apotithēmi. It is a gentler word than get “rid” of. It might more accurately be translated, “put aside.”

I will never get “rid” of the little ego man who tries to run the show. But I can refuse to give him centre stage. And, as soon as I glance away from my ego, I discover within myself “the implanted word” that has the power to make me whole, or as James would have it to “save my soul.”

Glancing away, putting aside those habits, thoughts, words, and actions that tend toward death, seems more manageable than just to get “rid” of these tendencies.