Beware of Personal Favorites

In his autobiography, Mahatma Gandhi wrote that during his student days he read the Gospels seriously and considered converting to Christianity. He believed that in Jesus he could find the solution to the caste system that was dividing the people of India. So one Sunday he deci … More

Favoritism

God doesn’t play favorites. The Christians in the early church evidently were having a problem of showing favoritism. James is saying that there is no place to pick and choose with the wrong motives, with our self-centered desires in mind. In this chapter he gives five reasons why it is ridiculous to favor the rich and look down on the poor:

  1. It is contrary to faith (verses 1-4).
  2. It dishonors a man whom God honors (v. 5).
  3. It shows favor to those who have oppressed the people of God (v. 6).
  4. It is foolish to honor those who make a habit of using evil (vv. 7-8).
  5. It states how showing partiality violates the law of love (v. 9).

It is wrong to honor the rich at the expense of the poor. Both stand on the same level before God and should be treated as equals. James gives an illustration of a man of wealth and distinction who makes his appearance at the assembly. At the same time a poor  man in dirty clothes appears. The rich man is offered a choice seat while the poor man is told to stand. This is wrong.

Application

Do I show more kindness to those with my own skin color? Do I avoid those who have a physical difference and only spend time with those who are strong and healthy? Do I spend time with certain people because it makes me look good? Do I favor the rich over the poor?

James 2:1-9 (English Standard Version)


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