Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. - James 3:15-16
"Oh, she knows how to get what she wants." That statement isn't usually meant as a compliment. Unfortunately, women often have the reputation for being manipulators, passive-aggressive, and gossipers. Tearing down others is an effective way to gain status and relational power.
The early Christians who received James's letter were guilty of the same power-play. In Chapter 2, James rebukes them for showing favoritism to the rich in their meetings and demeaning their poorer members (2:1-13). In this and other sins, the church had been following "earthly" wisdom—the wisdom that believes it has to tear down others to get what it wants, using any "evil practice" necessary. Disorder resulted—they were harming their relationships and the church body in the process.
These Christians had forgotten a vital truth. Their worth did not come from being richer or wiser than anyone else, but instead it came only through humbly accepting what they couldn't earn—their salvation through faith in Christ.
Jesus' acceptance of us is what allows us to give up struggling to maintain our status in comparison to others. What Christ thinks of us matters most, and He makes us free to walk in God's "heavenly wisdom" where humility and love reign (James 3:17).
Father God, forgive me for when I've torn down others with my words or thoughts to build myself up. Please fill my heart with confidence that I am accepted and worthy in You. Amen.