Today we begin looking at chapter 2 of James and what he has to say about favoritism.
My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism.
According to “The Expositor’s Bible Commentary”, the “Greek grammatical construct used here is of forbidding a practice that is already in progress. The recipients of this epistle were guilty of practicing discrimination.” James was pointing out that as believers in Christ, we should act Christ-like and showing favoritism is not acting like Christ. Jesus loves all of us the same, He doesn’t love some of us more and some of us less and He want us to love others with that kind of love. Do show favoritism to some people? Who do you find it difficult to love with the love of Christ and why is it so difficult?
2 Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. 3 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,” 4 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
In verse 2 the word “meeting” is translated in the Greek as synagogue. It is a reminder to us that James was writing to Jewish Christians and it also lets us know that the discrimination he was talking about was taking place in church. In verse 3 “special attention” in the Greek means “to look with favor on”. Are there people in your church you look with favor on an others you don’t? Are we supposed to treat each other differently and in doing so put some people above others?
James is talking about showing favoritism based on wealth. Do you treat those in your life who are better off financially better than those who are not? Although James specifically addresses favoritism due to wealth favoritism of any kind is forbidden. Do you treat those in leadership positions at your church differently than those who do not serve and merely attend?
James says when we show favoritism we have “become judges with evil thoughts”. I love how James doesn’t sugar coat things, he tells it like it is. I believe Satan’s playing field is our minds and if he can distract our thoughts or have us think about others in a judgmental way we are on a slippery slope. Our thoughts effect our feelings and our feelings effect our attitudes, words and actions. If we think someone is less worthy, we will not feel as kind towards them and will not treat them as well as someone who we think of highly.
Favoritism doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, but when we realize it stems from our thoughts, which impacts our feelings which impacts our actions, it is a much bigger deal. Who have you had judgmental thoughts about that have effected the way you felt about the person and ultimately the way you have treated them? Look back over the past month or so at some of your interactions with others that didn’t go so well, can you see if your thoughts about that person impacted the way you felt about them and the way you treated them? Allow the Lord to show how your thought processes connect to your treatment of people and ask Him to help you change the way you view others and begin to see them from His perspective.
- Scripture references from http://www.biblegateway.com
- Greek definitions from “The Key Word Study Bible”, AMG Publishers
- Commentary quote from “The Expositor’s Bible Commentary”, Zondervan