Just Because They are Not Like Us

James 2:1-4 ESV

“My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, ‘You sit here in a good place,’ while you say to the poor man, ‘You stand over there,’ or, ‘Sit down at my feet,’ have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?”

Prejudice knows no bounds. Whites are prejudice against blacks, and blacks against whites, and Jews against non-Jews, and non-Jews against Jews, and the rich against the poor, and the poor against the rich, and the educated against the less educated, and the less educated against the higher educated, and male against female, and female against male, etc. etc. Basically this is all about being against people who are different from us.

And preferential treatment goes right along with prejudice. People who are prejudice against other groups of people will treat those they like and those they agree with better while those they dislike and disagree with they will treat poorly. And this happens even in the church among those who call themselves Christians. And it can be for many different reasons including people’s financial status or their dress or where they are from, etc.

And the saddest reality, I believe, is worldly “Christians” against godly Christians. If you fit in with the culture of today, and you blend in with the world, and you do the same kinds of things as the ungodly do, then you are more well accepted in the institutional church than if you follow the path of righteousness and you take God and his word seriously, and so you are walking in obedience to the Lord, living unlike (different) from the world.

So, this whole thing is really about prejudice and partiality and giving some people preferential treatment because we accept them while we reject others. And, again, prejudice knows no bounds. This can be about anything.

I have had people dislike me because I was more educated than them, or because I was white, or because I was a woman, or because I was poor, or because I had more money than them, or because I grew up in Ohio (USA) and now I lived in the south, or because I didn’t talk, think, or act like they did, or because I took the Scriptures seriously and I was honest and I would not go along with lies and manipulations, etc.

And I am not claiming that those are the only reasons people did not like me, for I didn’t always walk in faithful obedience to the Lord, and there were times in my life when I wandered from my pure devotion to the Lord, and I knowingly and deliberately did what I knew was sinful, and so there were certainly people who did not like me then because of the wrong I was doing.

So, the main point here is not just about rich and poor but it is about prejudice which comes in all different forms. And it is about treating some people well and others poorly based on our prejudices, if we have them. And this should not be part of the life of a follower of Jesus Christ. We should not judge others based on ourselves or on our culture or on our traditions, but all judgments should be based in the truth of the Scriptures and for the ultimate good of others, to help them, not to cause them harm.

James 2:5 ESV

“Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?”

So, is God against rich people? No! Is he only interested in the financially poor? No! Jesus died on that cross for all people, no matter who they are. But the Scriptures do seem to indicate that the rich are less prone to look to God than the physically poor, and perhaps it is because they have so much in the things of this world that they don’t see their need of God. Whereas the poor, who have nothing or little may be more apt to look to God for help.

But do all poor people believe in Jesus? No! Just because they are financially poor doesn’t mean that they sense their need of God at all. And just because someone is rich doesn’t mean he will never turn his heart to the Lord.

So, I believe this has more to do with the humble, with those who know that they need the Lord and that they can’t make it without him, like the poor in spirit who recognize their need of God. Those who are humble before God and who do not think too highly of themselves, will call out to God, and they will turn their hearts over to the Lord, and then they will become rich in faith, even if they end up being despised by the worldly and the rich.

The other thing here is not just humility, but we must love the Lord. And to love him is to obey him, and if we do not obey him, we do not love him, we do not know him, and we do not have eternal life with him. The truly humble before God will obey the Lord, but the prideful and the arrogant will think they do not have to obey the Lord (1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10).

James 2:6-9 ESV

“But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called? If you really 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 are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.”

So, what’s the bottom line here? It is that we are not to be prejudice nor to show prejudice and preferential treatment to some people over others based off those prejudices. And even if someone is sinning against us, we should not treat him or her poorly, but we should talk with the person like the Bible talks about in hopes that there can be reconciliation, which may involve repentance by the one and forgiveness by the other.

And the other thing here is that we need to know that prejudice and the giving of preferential treatment to some while we treat others with disdain is a sin. We as Christians are to represent Jesus Christ, so we are to treat others like Jesus did, but sometimes that involved him confronting people in their sin, and calling the sin what it was, and calling them to repentance and to walks of obedience, and warning of divine judgment if they didn’t.

For Our Nation

An Original Work / September 11, 2012

Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.

Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.

Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.

Men deceiving: we’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.

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