Favoritism Forbidden – James 2: 1- 12
My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ? 2 For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in, 3 and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, “Have a seat here, please,” while to the one who is poor you say, “Stand there,” or, “Sit at my feet,” 4 have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court? 7 Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you?
8 You do well if you really fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 9 But if you show partiality, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. 11 For the one who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery but if you murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty.
The book of James written by James, Jesus’ brother, deals about the relationship between work and faith.
In the chapter we read, James talks about how to greet others regardless of their outward appearance.
According to the Message Bible, this paragraph falls under a subtitle “The Royal Rule of Love.”
James starts this chapter by saying, “ My dear friends, don’t let public opinion influence how you live out our glorious, Christ-originated faith” (James 2:1 The Message)
First, we see that James calls our life glorious.
The reason we can call our life glorious is because we are called to live a Christ-originated faith.
Our life becomes glorious because we became redeemed by the blood of Jesus.
It is not because we achieved such things, but only because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
But how many times do we consider ourselves glorious because of the things we have or acquired?
Second, James says, “don’t let public opinion influence who you live.” The NSRV uses the word ‘favoritism,’ but strangely the Message uses ‘public opinion.’ The Greek word uses ‘προσωπολημψίαις (prosōpolēmpsiais)’ which means ‘partiality.’ So it means being prejudice or having a particular favor over other people. But Eugene Peterson, Translator of the Message Bible, see this as being influenced by ‘public opinion.’ If we see that most of our prejudice created by our public opinion or worldview, we can we how this translation can be more applicable.
Don’t we see others through this distorted lens, and live among them without knowing how detrimental our presence is to them?
Don’t we see that we miss out on the fullness of life when we put ourselves in a box?
What is God asking you to do today? How can we live out our faith, as we become a peacemaker of this world.
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