James's strident caution to the church is a powerful challenge to each of us women called by God to serve in our churches: "Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice" (James 3:13-16).
With God's help, we each must fight hard against our own innate desires to hold tightly to power, to gossip and slander, and to go after those who've hurt us. If we don't we may soon become church-harpies - and not even know it.