Over the past few days I have been reflecting on these verses and here are my thoughts. I invite you to reflect with me as I meditate on the passage above. May the Holy Spirit shed his light into our hearts and change us from one degree of Christ-likeness to another.
Read: James 2:1-9
Jas 2:9 But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.
“Man looks at the outward appearance” 1 Sam 16:7. That is an indictment of the sinful heart of man. We are experts at judging “a book by its cover”.
Generally, in a crowd, one normally does a quick scan of the group and makes mental judgments and assumptions based on physical appearance, dress, who people are with, who are "my type" etc. The tendency can be to give importance, value and attention to those who are well groomed and dressed and to ignore and overlook those who are may be poorly attired and seem to be economically hard pressed and unimportant. We may make special efforts to befriend and converse with the former and ignore and even disdain the latter. After all, in today’s world of networking, worldly wisdom says that it pays to befriend the rich, curry favour with the influential, those who can make us look good and feel good. We can have a mindset of "What’s in it for me?"
The Bible calls this the sin of favoritism. (Jas 2:9). In Romans 12:16 it is associated with the sin of pride and conceit. When we discriminate like this, we are guilty of becoming “judges with evil thoughts” (Jas 2:4). The Bible warns us that one of the places these sins can be committed are at meetings of believers! (Jas 2:1,2). We are instructed to do right and to keep the royal law of Scripture by “Loving your neighbor as yourself”. That means making an intentional effort to associate and befriend people of low economic position or social standing who come to our church meetings.
Imagine if two women of low social and economic standing attended your church meeting. One of them shabbily dressed and obviously destitute living on the streets and the other, slightly better dressed but whose job description is “servant in a home”. How would I respond to these two women?
So I ask myself:
· How would such people be received in my church setting and by me? Would I avoid them or accept them?
· Would I be quick to greet them, find them a seat, converse with them and get to know them?
· Would I engage with them after the service and seek out their needs, pray for them and offer appropriate help?
· Would I invite them for a meal? (Who knows, we might be entertaining angels without knowing it ! (Heb 13:2). Can I overcome the cross cultural, language, economic and social barriers and present the good news of salvation to them, after all as our Lord said, “The gospel is good news for the poor”.
In attempting to do the above I would be keeping the royal law and “Loving your neighbor as yourself” and not sinning in church.
“We can do NO great things, only small thing with GREAT love.” Mother Teresa
"Great opportunities may come once in a life time but small opportunities surround us everyday"
Let’s look out for those little acts of kindness that will make a big difference in somebody's life, especially the less fortunate.
Colin D Cruz