1 My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. 2 Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. 3 If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” 4 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
When someone walks through the door, human nature causes us to size them up. Immediately we make some assumptions about that person: whether they are rich or poor, attractive or unattractive, healthy or unhealthy, educated or uneducated. We make assumptions. Those assumptions lead to judgments and judgements lead to actions. There is something in most of us that skews our attention towards the people who look like us or look like people we want to be.
But Jesus doesn’t play favorites.
James says if our judgements lead to choosing favorites, we’ve sinned against our brothers and sisters. To love our neighbor well is the highest calling of our lives, it is the supreme fulfillment of a Christ centered life. Yet if we assign love at different rates to people based on how we perceive them, we dishonor Christ by loving unequally.
When you walk through Wal-Mart, do you find yourself sizing people up? Does it affect the way you interact with them in the check out line? How about we take James 2 at face value. How do you treat the well dressed person verses the poor (perhaps even odiferous) person when they sit next to you in church?
Friends, we’ve all been guilty of showing love of neighbor at varying levels at some point, if not even this week. May the words of James challenge us to see our neighbors as equally valuable in the sight of God and may we treat them as such.