Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Favoritism is Sinful

Chuckle:  A Sunday School teacher: "Now children, never do anything in private you wouldn't do in public." "Hurrah!" shouted one little boy -- "No more baths!"
Quote:  “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”  --Martin Luther King, jr
    "For God does not show favoritism." (Romans 2:11 NIV).  "My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim that you have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people more than others" (James 2:1 NLT).  "But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers" (James 2:9 NIV).
Favoritism means to receive or reject someone based on appearance or other imposed standards of acceptability.  We put labels on clothing and we put labels on people and so we have favorites.  However, favoritism defines a person in terms apart from God's grace.  James zeros in on favoritism, partiality, prejudice, snobbery.  These are all attitudes which lead to discrimination against certain people.  We may think we are more important then they and they are not deserving of our love and attention.  Being around them makes us uncomfortable.
James reminds us that if we show favoritism to some at the expense of others, we sin.  We know that Jesus loves everyone equally, but gave special attention to the poor, the sick, and the powerless -- the ones we often reject. We should follow His lead. "I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right" (Acts 10:34 NIV).
So, we can have favorites based on such things as appearance, age, affluence, or ancestry.  If we could only grasp the eternal truth that God made everyone of us and we are all the same in his sight, it would change our whole view of life, and give us the ability to love and accept everyone without reservation.
"Mohandas K. (Mahatma) Gandhi was the leader of the Indian nationalist movement against British rule and considered the father of his country. He is internationally esteemed for his doctrine of nonviolence to achieve political and social progress. Gandhi says in his autobiography that in his student days he was truly interested in the Bible. Deeply touched by reading the Gospels, he seriously considered becoming a convert, since Christianity seemed to offer the real solution to the caste system that was dividing the people of India. One Sunday, he went to a nearby church to attend services. He decided to see the minister and ask for instruction in the way of salvation and enlightenment on other doctrines. But when he entered the sanctuary, the ushers refused to give him a seat and suggested that he go and worship with his own people. Gandhi left and never came back. 'If Christians have caste differences also,' he said to himself, 'I might as well remain a Hindu.'"  --Illustrations for Biblical Preaching; Edited by Michael P. Green
In our main passage, James questions our faith if we favor some over others.  We must have the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5) and welcome everyone into our fellowship equally.  We should say: "Your appearance, race, color, nationality, ethnic background, or social status, does not matter -- you are welcome in this fellowship. We love you and accept you unconditionally."

Love, Jerry & Dotse


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