Monday, March 14, 2011

Forbidden Favoritism (James 2)

I’m currently studying the book of James.  I’m asking God to daily illuminate another part of it to me and give me wisdom when I read it.  Today I believe the Lord really illuminated chapter 2, verses 1-13.  The subtitle above this section in my bible says Favoritism Forbidden.  The scripture talks about giving special attention to the wealthy and crappy treatment to the poor.  It continues to talk to the Lord’s love for the poor and how we must love our neighbor as ourselves.  Verse 10 goes on to say, “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.”  The last sentence however, is “Mercy triumphs over judgement!” I’ve read James dozens of times in the last 4 years, so what is new about this scripture now?  
Just as it’s bad to favor the rich, I believe Jesus is saying to me, “Casey, it’s also bad to show full on favoritism to the poor.” I have seen myself, many many times, hating the wealthy because of the starving children I’ve seen in the nations.  But that is also wrong.
v. 3&4 says: 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,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
I think it’s a whole lot easier to love the poor.  Even in my own life, I would probably tell the rich college student to sit on the floor and give the homeless man the comfy chair.  That’s just my nature.  I love the hurting and the hungry.  The wealthy … well … I should love also.  Because Jesus said love your neighbor as yourself.  So whether I’m living in my dorm room next to girls paying 20 grand a year to go to Liberty University or I’m in a house in India sleeping in the room next to a woman who has nothing to her name but her new found dignity in Christ Jesus, I must love my neighbor as myself.  

1 comment:

  1. Casey,
    These are wise words. It's a tough lesson to learn, from both sides. I'm impressed that you've learned it at such a young and idealistic age. You must remember that some have wealth, not because of anything they have done. Just like some are impoverished, not because of anything they have done. I have no idea why it is that way. The same reason the rain falls on the righteous and the wicked, I suppose. The important thing is connecting the two - the wealthy & the impoverished. They need each other - desperately. Check out 1 Timothy 6:17-19.