Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, for you know that we who teach shall be judged with greater strictness.
Few weeks ago, I have been agonizing over this verse. Undoubtedly, as I write articles every month, I teach God's word. And when I remembered this verse, it really made me fear that I will be judged more harshly.
James meant that those who teach should live their lives according to what they teach. Jesus himself rebuked the Pharisees because of their hypocrisy. Jesus accused them of not doing what they teach. It was this picture of Jesus that really troubled me.
Even some friends counselled me that what James meant was about teaching errors. Yet, if we look at the context of the verse, it talks of putting our faith in action. Therefore, this verse warns teachers (and preachers) to live their lives according to what they preach.
I kept saying that it is difficult, if not impossible to live what we preach. We have our own faults so it is accepted that we will sin and often go against what we preach. In Romans 7, Paul talks of his personal struggle with his sinfulness. He ends his discussion with,
Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I of myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
I realized then that yes, I am sinful. I am a sinner. Yes, I will be judged harshly. But yes, God's mercy is greater than his judgement. I realized that if I desire to live a holy life and continue with my struggle against sin, I can call on his mercy if he judges me harshly.
This made me realize that I have to struggle. I need to take my faith seriously so that when the Lord indeed judge me harshly, I can turn to him and ask him for his mercy. This is what Divine Mercy is all about. This was what the Lord wanted: to tell people of the greatness of his mercy.
This is what we need to teach, the Mercy of the Lord. Jesus said to St. Faustina, “the greater the sinner, the greater is his right to my mercy.” Now I know, when I teach, I should preach about the mercy of the Lord, because in the end, this is what will save me.
Jesus, I trust in you.