There are a great deal of painfully ugly situations going on in our country right now. Many of those situations are filled with hate, while others are rife with tearing down another for personal gain. James 2:1-13 speaks specifically to this sin of partiality and favoritism. Many of us were brought up to "look down" on a specific people group or those that don't have the same socio-economic means that we do. Others of us "pre-judge...(prejudice)" people by what they wear or how they act. (Lev 19; Job 4:19) James clearly says in verse 1 "show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory."
All too often we treat people differently when we know we could gain something in return. That is partiality. Verse 9 clearly states, "But if you show partiality, you are committing sinand are convicted by the law as trangressors." It is clear. We must not assign value to someone beyond our responsibility. When we do, we show others the condition of our own heart. Remember, it doesn't matter "how you were raised" - you are in Christ now, so let His love flow through you. If we are filled with love through Jesus, we shouldn't even be able to harbor favoritism.
Verse 12 shows us that we should "speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty." That means that we should be "blessers" and "builders" of people (Eph. 2:19) We should show mercy to people because we will also be judged with mercy.
How to Treat People Properly:
1. Encourage others - speaking and acting are tangible things to do.
2. Acceptance - Romans 15:7 - Acceptance doesn't mean approval. Love people where they are and love them to where they can be.
3. Honor people - Philippians 2 - Count other more significant than yourself...
4. See them as God does - We are ALL the Imago Dei. Your value is not determined by your valuables. Your value is assigned by God.
To Discuss Today:
1. Where does favoritism creep into your life? Can you recognize it?
2. How do you treat people that can do nothing for you?
3. Work hard to look at EVERYONE you come across this week as the Imago Dei. Encourage them. Honor them. Accept them. Utilize Halloween to "be Jesus with skin on".