Friday Focus

Honor or Dishonor by Virgil Stripes

James 2:1-9 (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? 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? 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.

This is a difficult thing to avoid. Today, as in the early church, we have a tendency to honor those we think are more honorable because of their status. Just like the early church, we fall victim to the trap of our eyes. We think because a person dresses nicely that they are worthy of our attention, or not so nicely that they are not worthy of our attention. In fact the problem goes back way further than that. Pretty much since we started having wealthy people, they have been given preferential treatment. But we, as members of Christ should be beyond that.

So what must we do to break these habits? How can we train ourselves to react to all people as equals in the Church and the body of Christ? Yes, we have different missions. Yes, we are different parts. But we are all essential. So celebrate each other. Love one another. Appreciate that we are different. Just don’t accept people based on perceptions. Accept people because they are acceptable to God in Christ Jesus.

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