Abuse Cries Out (James 5:4)

Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.” (James 5:4, AV)

In my days of employment, I have worked for good employers and others that I deemed as bad. However, I have never been defrauded of wages that I was owed. There were times, when I felt mistreated. There was a time when I worked for a company and was promoted to plant manager. It was an exciting time for me and I began to make some philosophical changes in the way the plant functioned. At the same time, the machinery was seriously worn out and needed to be refurbished. We just could not produce the quality of product necessary to satisfy the customer’s requirements. During this time our expenses skyrocketed due to high costs of defective products and machine refurbishment costs. Just six months after receiving the promotion, the company demoted me back to my former position due to cost overruns.

Needless to say, after being demoted, I felt abused and was frankly bitter. I spent an entire week wallowing through a personal pity party. I tried to put on a good face, but I know people could see my poor countenance. I spent an entire weekend in prayer because I knew that my bitterness had to stop. I just could not fix it. So, I prayed and the Lord gave me a thought something like this, “I know the truth of exactly what has gone on. I understand how hard you have worked to make things right. Nothing else matters.” This immediately brought peace to my heart. God knew and understood.

In this passage of the letter, James wrote about the greedy business people who love money above all else. The ones of whom he wrote have amassed wealth at the expense of their workers. They defrauded them of wages. They abused their workers. James went on to say that the fraudulent actions of these business people cried out against them and “entered into the ears of the Lord.” The Lord knew everything about the abuse these employees incurred and the actions of the employers.

As a pastor, I have met many people who were struggling with past abuse. Sometimes it was physical abuse. Sometimes it was sexual abuse. Sometimes it was verbal and emotional abuse. Sometimes people were defrauded. Sometimes people were treated unfairly. Sometimes they were falsely accused. This abuse often left deep scars in their lives. One comforting thought is that the Lord knows everything. He knows the truth. This abuse cries out to the Lord against the wrong doers.

I know as a former businessman, that the actions that those who demoted me were justified based upon what they understood. Frankly, they just looked at the bottom line and felt they had to do something. They had no idea of the ramifications that brought about the problem. Yes, they did not care to discuss the issue, but they did what they believed was right. However, my emotions were still out of sorts. I was not thinking rationally, but emotionally. The thing that made the difference and changed my countenance was the knowledge that God knew and understood what went on.

The Lord watches out over His own. You may have felt mistreated or abused in your life. Let me just say, there is a day when the truth shall be revealed. There is a day when the Lord’s recompense shall come, when the wrongs of this life shall be righted. Rest in the fact that God knows everything perfectly.

Published by Steve Hankins, Th.D.

Steve has had extensive military, business and ministry experience. He has served for over 16 years in full time vocational ministry and many years of part time ministry in churches. He has led churches through start-up and recasting of vision. Now He resides on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where he is working to help smaller churches and believers to renew their hearts and regain the joy of the Lord.

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