Lenten reflection for Wednesday, March 20, 2019 – Favoritism Forbidden

Who are your favorite people? What about them makes them desirable to know and be with?

Read James 2:1-4
2 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?

The key biblical principle behind this teaching is the command in Leviticus 19:15 not to show partiality toward either rich or poor (See also Job 34:19; Acts 10:34; Deuteronomy 1:17; John 7:24; Luke 14:7–24; Luke 18:1–14).

Our glorious Lord Jesus Christ: Describing Jesus as glorious points to the heavenly realm to which he has been exalted and from which he will come at the end of history to save and to judge (James 5:9). How might this description of Jesus help you in situations where you are tempted to give too much ‘glory’ to human beings?

Favoritism: (προσωπολημψία) is a descriptive word for showing partiality; it literally means “to receive someone according to their face”.

“Discriminated among yourselves (2:4). The Greek word rendered “discriminated” here is the same as the one translated “doubt” in 1:6. This word has the sense of “wavering” (1:6, kjv) or being “divided” (2:4, Revised Version). The Bible does not speak against discernment or discrimination based on valid standards; for instance, we should distinguish true teachers from false on the basis of their lives and characters (Matthew 7:15-23). Discrimination or judgment is bad when it springs from our divided, wavering values. To discriminate according to wealth is to mix worldly values with heavenly ones, to try to serve both God and Mammon (Matthew 6:24). This is the essence of the double-minded, unstable character James wants to root out of his readers (1:8).”
Karen Lee-Thorp et al., LifeChange Series, (Colorado Springs, Co: Navpress, 1987)

Who gets “special attention” in your church? What makes them so special?
Think about how much you, or people you know, spend on on beauty products, clothes, cars, entertainment, sports and recreation, technology, and church facilities. What might these expenditures say about our willingness to evaluate ourselves and others “according to their face”?

Ask God to help you see others through  the eyes of Christ and to love them as he does.

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