God will punish people that cheat to make themselves rich
Now I’m talking to rich people that cheated people to get money for themselves. You mob listen to me. You are going to get big trouble, so you can start to cry right now, and you can be really sad. 2-3 All your money and clothes, and those things you got for yourself, they will all become useless. They will rot away. Or they will rust away. Or white ants will eat them. God will see that rusty rotten mess, and he will say that you are too greedy, and he will punish you with big trouble. It will be like a fire burning up your body. You thought you could keep all that stuff for a long time, but you will not have it for very long.* You cheated to get that money. You got men to work on your farm, and they cut down the food crop that grew there, and they brought all that food to you. But you didn’t pay them for that work. You sent them away with no pay. Then they cried about it, and our God heard them. He is very strong, and he can see that you cheated them. God can see their money. It is still in your pocket. So God will make big trouble for you.*
5-6 While you lived here on this earth, you killed good people that couldn’t fight back. You lied and said they were guilty, and then you killed them. While you were doing that, you got everything you wanted, and you had plenty to eat. You are fat now, but look out. God will kill you. Think about a farmer and his cow. He feeds that cow a lot of grass and makes it fat, then he kills it to get some meat. Well, that is a picture of you. You are fat now, but God will kill you.
Christians, don’t give up
7-8 Now I’m talking to you Christian people. You have to wait for our leader, Jesus, to come back, so don’t give up. Think about farmers. They plant their food crops, and then they just wait for the rain to come and make the plants grow, so that in the end, the farmers will get lots of food from those plants. Well, you have to wait, just like they do. Don’t give up. Our leader, Jesus, will come back soon.
My Christian friends, don’t complain about each other, or God will judge you and say that you are wrong. He is the big judge, and he is coming soon. He is nearly here already.
10 My Christian friends, remember the stories from a long time ago. Think about the people that told God’s messages to people. They kept going, even if people didn’t believe them, and if people gave them a lot of trouble. 11 They didn’t give up, so now we respect them, and we say they were good people. Remember the story about Job. He was a good man, but he got a lot of trouble. But he kept on following God, and in the end, God made everything good for him. So we know that God always feels sorry for his people when they get trouble, and he will be very good to them.*
12 And there is another thing that I want to say, my friends, and it is very important. Whenever you promise something, don’t say, “God is the boss over heaven and earth, and if I don’t do what I promise, he will punish me.” Don’t say anything like that. You see, if you say that, and then don’t do what you promised, then God will say that you are guilty. So just tell the true story. Say yes when that is true, or no when that is true, and don’t say anything more.*
This is how to pray
13 Have any of you got trouble? You have to keep on praying about it. Or are any of you happy? You can sing to God to say thank you to him and to tell everybody that God is really good. 14 Are any of you sick? You have to ask the leaders of the church to come to you and pray for you. They can ask for Jesus’s power to make you better, and they can put some olive oil on you while they pray.* 15 Whenever somebody prays and really trusts God to make a sick person better, God will do what they are asking him to do. Jesus, our leader, will make that sick person good again. And if they got sick because they did something wrong, God will not punish them any more for doing that bad thing.
16 So whenever you go wrong and do bad things, don’t try to say that you are still good. No. Tell each other the true story about the bad things that you did. Then you can pray for each other, so that God can make you good again. Whenever a good person prays to God about something, then God uses his power and does whatever that good person asks for. 17 Think about the story about Elijah. He was just a person, like us, but he prayed and asked God to stop the rain, and God did that. It didn’t rain at all for the nextyears.* 18 Then Elijah asked God to send rain again, and God did that. A lot of rain came down, and then the food plants started to grow again.*
19-20 Listen, my Christian friends, suppose a Christian starts to forget about God’s true words, and that person goes the wrong way. And suppose somebody else talks to them and gets them to come back to the right way. Then God will go easy on the person that went the wrong way. He will not punish them for all the bad things they did, and he will not finish them up for ever. You see, the person that gets them to come back does a lot of good. So that is the sort of thing you have to do.*
From James
* 5:2-3 Matthew 6:19 * 5:4 Deuteronomy 24:14-15 * 5:11 Job 1:21-22; 2:10; Psalm 103:8 * 5:12 Matthew 5:34-37 * 5:14 Mark 6:13 * 5:17 1 Kings 17:1; 18:1 * 5:18 1 Kings 18:42-45 * 5:19-20 Proverbs 10:12; 1 Peter 4:8