For me in the book of James there are a lot of things that make total sense, a lot of things that could be misunderstood, and a lot of things that just don't make sense.
The idea that the tongue can be used for evil: makes sense. Being quick to listen, slow to anger: makes sense. Fighting with people because you are being selfish: makes sense.
Of course the big idea that could be misunderstood: faith without deeds is dead. It could be misunderstood as a contradiction to the idea that we are saved by grace alone and not by works. But it's not actually contradictory to that. It's a difficult distinction to explain, and many have tried, and I'm not sure I'm up to the task today. But all to say, faith without deeds is dead: could be confusing and misunderstood.
Now, "grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and you joy to gloom?": doesn't make sense to me.
The only kind of sense I can make of that is...maybe James is talking about pride. And how we can build a life around silly things and boast in silly things and all along be ignoring God. And James is telling us to stop that, stop being silly and finding pleasure in meaningless things and realize how small you really are and how big God really is.
Sometimes reading the Bible is really confusing, but actually most of the time it isn't. For all the things that could be misunderstood or things that don't make sense, there are so many more things that do make sense. It's not actually hard to read. And James is such a short book.
One time I was driving my little sister home from middle school. When she got in the car I pulled up my Bible app on my phone to James and I said "start reading James aloud and don't stop until we get home."
The drive from school to home is about 10-15 minutes and by the time we got home she had read the entire book of James. She was so surprised! I asked her "do you understand what you just read?" And she said, yes! Maybe there were some things that she didn't understand like "grieve, mourn, and wail" but overall it wasn't hard for her to read and she could actually understand it.
We often make reading the Bible seem like a big and overwhelming task. But it's just reading. The only thing that is big and overwhelming about it is the work God does in our hearts when we are open to hearing His Word!
Gratitude: for Mario Kart. For God who gives meaning to our otherwise meaningless lives.