No Favoritism

I really like the book of James because it’s a book about what real Christianity should look like. The writer was the earthly brother of Jesus, and he lays it on real thick. I think one reason that James doesn’t mince words is that he was not a follower of Jesus when Jesus was on earth, he actually disliked his brother in a lot of ways. It wasn’t until after Jesus ascended into heaven that James became born again, and when he did, he was SERIOUS.

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?
5 Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? 7 Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?

8 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. 9 But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.
— James 2: 1-9 (NIV)

Without sugarcoating, James is calling out favoritism for what it is: evil and a sin. What comes to mind is looking at quite a few popes in the Catholic Church and how they played favoritism, buying, manipulating, killing, ignoring atrocities, and causing atrocities to get what they want. But one sect in Christianity cannot be called out alone. Evangelical Christians too have their shortcomings in this area and it’s easy to see in large churches. A church may not exert its power the way that some popes have or may not throw a person out for being poor, but I have certainly seen a welcoming of more well-known Christians or celebrities over people in the church who don’t share such a status.

As James points out in verses 2-3, any sort of favoritism by any Christian Bible based church is sinful and violates Who Jesus is and what He came on earth to do. It violates what Paul points out in Colossians 3:11 that the church should show un-favoritism. He states, “We are neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.” The church is multicultural, made up of men, women, children, rich, poor, in between, disabled, some can’t afford soap and may have an odor, some are struggling with addictions, some are famous, some are semi-famous in society, and some are not known by anyone accept those around them.

We the church are diverse and God has given us what we have, but despite what our labels are and what we have, we all love Jesus and that IS enough- it should always be enough.

And, all of this makes us a family. So, when we can, we should help one another and treat everyone the same for we are all God’s children, held accountable to the same Godly standards, hoping that by God’s grace we’ll all make it into the same heaven.

Let us move forward in remembrance that favoritism should not be in our vocabulary, unless we are saying that Jesus is our favorite.

Happy Friday!