2:1 My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. 2 For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, 3 and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” 4 have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? 7 Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?
8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. 9 But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. 11 For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. 13 For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. (ESV)
How would you define favoritism? Does it exist at all in your church or unit? What can you do about it? The answers to all of these questions are found in today’s reading. The word translated favoritism in verse one means “to show partiality based on outward appearance.” Favoritism is being influenced by external qualities like appearance, possessions, education, popularity, etc. The example James gave illustrates what it looked like. This church treated people differently, not based on what was in their hearts, but on what others saw outwardly. The rich man got kindness and a seat of honor, the poor man did not. That is sin and shows that we judge people with evil thoughts. James then demonstrated that God does not show favoritism based on external appearances. In fact, the poor have a greater opportunity for spiritual growth than the rich. Do you show favoritism? Are there people at your church you do not sit with or talk to because of external qualities like appearance or how wealthy they are? We need to love people as God does. In what ways do you need to change?
How do you see favoritiem displayed in your unit or your church?
How do you demonstrate favoritism at church or unit?
How can you stop showing favoritism and love others instead?
In light of this passage, what personal commitment can you make?