James 2:1-13 – September 24-25
The Bible is basically a compilation of love letters from our Father in heaven, His loving words breathed onto each page. Over the next several months, as we study the letters of the Bible, Galatians through Jude, I pray that You will experience His eternal love in new ways and that it will transform you. These letters were written by Christian leaders, most of them by Paul, to establish and grow the Christian Church. For us, they are filled with love and gold nuggets on living a Christian life. Join along in our study by reading today’s scripture, journaling on it using SOAP, then sharing how God spoke to you today. Below is the NIV version of today’s reading, then below that is a SOAP from one of our study leaders. The Comments section on our website is an open forum for sharing, requesting prayer, and asking questions.
James 2:1-13 – Favoritism Forbidden
My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. 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?
5 Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: 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. 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?
8 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. 9 But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11 For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.
12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
Favoritism | Rebecca Hoyt
My Bible notes James uses a hypothetical situation to condemn the sin of favoritism. He describes discrimination against a person just because he is ‘dressed in filthy clothes’ instead of ‘fine apparel’. Such prejudice should not characterize a believer. Believers show the sin of favoritism by belonging to cliques, classifying people according to their economic status, showing hardness of heart to the needy, comparing people, and trying to control people because of an attitude of superiority.
It is easy for our minds to quickly jump to conclusions about people before knowing them. I know I’ve done this many times. I’ve been in groups of Christians where I’ve felt left out because of cliques. God wants us to have open hearts to everyone and not judge. Our pastor talked about this on Sunday at church; he gave an example of a new neighbor never saying hello when he tried to talk to them, so it was easy to think this person was unfriendly when really something bad was happening in that person’s life.
Dear Father, thank You for these words today and reminding us even at Christian gatherings we can show favoritism by our actions without knowing it. Please help me to be welcoming of new people.
The Discover One Thing main website continues to follow the Life Journal Reading Plan which covers the whole Bible in one year. Click HERE to check out today’s Discover One Thing post.