If you want to be treated with kid gloves, don’t reach out to James the brother of Christ for counsel. He has no problem speaking truth assertively. In James 2:1 he speaks clearly, “My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism.” James makes it crystal clear that we should not behave with preferences based on the system of the world. Notice that James points us to “whose” we are, “believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ.” We are children of the Lord Jesus Christ. As we live out the character of Jesus, all earthly distinctions disappear in the light of His presence.
James references this in verses in 2:2-4 how we treat the rich and the folks who flaunt their worldly stature versus how we treat the less fortunate and the poorly dressed. Verse 4 nails it, “Have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?” Positioned in the light of glory of Jesus, how can we discriminate and make judgments? Jesus in Matthew 7 admonishes us, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” In verses 6-8, James states that we glorify the very folks who often “exploit” us… “Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? 7 Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?”
James brings clarity to us in verses 5&6, “Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor.” Jesus began His very first public sermon in Matthew 5 “3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Be careful! Jesus disdains “favoritism.” I believe each of us should take a rigorous personal inventory starting within our family, our church, our friends, other relationships, our communities and our world. Are we discriminating and making judgments that don’t glorify our Lord Jesus Christ? Do we continue to live out lives based on our background with its discriminating preferences? What changes does God want within me? I challenge each of us to burst our model of comfort and convenience and flesh out the sacrificial love of our Savior in real terms.