No Partiality, Please : James 2:1-13

My brothers, show no partiality as you adhere to the faith of our glorious Lord Jesus Christ. For if a man with gold rings on his fingers and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and a poor person in shabby clothes also comes in, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say, “Sit here, please,” while you say to the poor one, “Stand there,” or  “Sit at my feet,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil designs? Listen, my beloved brothers. Did not God choose those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom that He promised to those who love Him? But you dishonored the poor person. Are not the rich oppressing you? And do they themselves not haul you off to court? Is it not they who blaspheme the noble Name that was invoked over you? However, if you fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law, but falls short in one particular, has become guilty in respect to all of it. For He who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not kill.” Even if you do not commit adultery but kill, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so act as people who will be judged by the law of freedom. For the judgement is merciless to the one who has not shown mercy; mercy triumphs over judgement.    James 2:1-13 

James now commands us, through the Holy Spirit, to show no partiality. Not to prefer the rich man over the poor man, almost sensing the evil motive present in our hearts. “If I’m nice to this rich guy, maybe he’ll be nice to me in return.” James reminds them of their oppressors. They are the rich, who haul them off to court and blaspheme God’s name!  

Is it much different today? I’m sure there are a few rich/poor issues going on in our American churches, but most of our churches now are made up of people who are like us… right? Maybe our “partiality” issue is race or better yet, a visitor to our fellowship of any kind. “Well, I don’t know them, they must be new. We’ll greet/meet them next time.” If there is one! How dare someone come into our fellowship and look for love, compassion and encouragement!

This, my friends, is what James is calling SIN.

If we call ourselves Christians, we need to act like Christians (so speak and so act)! If we don’t then we are blasphemers of God’s holy name. If we are commanded to love our neighbor as ourselves and we treat them with partiality, then we are breakers of Christ’s Law. Did Jesus say, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ but not do what I command”, just to hear himself talk? I think not.

“So speak and so act” as people who Jesus will  judge, for He will judge us one day. And if we have shown mercy to others, He will be merciful to us. “If you forgive others their transgressions, your Heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive you your transgressions,”  Matt. 6:14-15.

So this week at our houses of worship, let’s take time to greet and introduce ourselves to someone we don’t know, showing the love of Christ to someone who may need it more than we do.



7 Responses

  1. Wonderful post Brother!

    Perhaps one of the greatest weaknesses in Western Christianity.

    To me this has something to do with thinking/contemplation. We become so wrapped up in our societal affairs that, if we are not careful, we become much like the culture around us. Obviously James’ as well as our own culture made/makes distinctions between this group and that – race, gender, socio-economic status, political, etc. We become so used to these distinctions in our workplace and other social settings, that we fail to recognize them in our church or cell settings (dare I say we should seek to recognize such favoritism in both settings, even though James is only making the application for the assembly here – I think)

    And as I said before, the answer to this is contemplation (at least in my opinion).

    I could go on and on – I’ll spare you.

  2. Yes Joe, I too think this is where it begins; “thinking/contemplation”. If we can change the way we think about or act toward others, it would change the dynamic of the assembly. Kind of like in John’s gospel Jesus said that others would know who we “are” because of our love for one another.
    Thanks for your input. That’s a great point!
    Peace Brother!

  3. Tim,

    This is a difficult one to hear. I fall so short in this area, along with many other areas. There is MUCH IMPROVEMENT NEEDED in my walk… and I often don’t even know where to begin.

    Satan is always ready to cancel out an act of kindness and I see this happen a lot. I’ll take an opportunity to act in love and kindness toward someone and not five minutes later, I’m angry at someone else… It is an overwhelming task at times to keep my actions in check.

    Why is the Christian way so darn difficult and why do we find it so challenging to let the Holy Spirit guide us?

  4. “I fall so short in this area, along with many other areas.”

    Amber, please don’t feel like you are alone, feeling this way. I can assure you, you are not. If I didn’t write about what I was struggling with, this discipleship blog would be empty.
    When I feel overwhelmed, I try to do one little thing. Not thinking about “everything else.” One thing. When I’m able to do the little thing, I try something bigger. One step at a time, one thing at a time. God will be patient with you, just be patient with yourself.

    “Why is the Christian way so darn difficult and why do we find it so challenging to let the Holy Spirit guide us?”

    Well, I’m not a theologian, but my guess would be this thing called “sin”. 🙂

    Thanks for dropping by! Great to hear from you again!

  5. Tim,

    Really, assure Amber she is not alone. In the matters of poor/rich…eh, not impressed by either. My mum, because of cup readings and my observations, really introduced me to “don’t throw stones at glass houses”. Growing up, we had multi-millionaires on the floor waiting for her to read, and you come out later to say goodbye to her guests and they have Christian Dior mascara running down their faces. It never impressed me or intimidated me. My mother was very poor prior to meeting the one I call Father. So I’m never nice to people depending on their finances.

    The love thy neighbour part, do I really have to? I really don’t like the red head that lives next to us. Or her dog. Really. It’s a strong dislike.

  6. The most comprehensive and very well thought out write up I have found on this subject on the net. Keep on writing, I will keep on stopping over to read your new content. This is my sixth time stopping by your site .

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