My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.
For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;
And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool:
Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?
Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?
But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats?
Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?
If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:
But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.
For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.
So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.
For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.
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?