James 2:1 — My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism (NIV).
People tend to favor what is familiar and shun what they don’t understand. A lot of what is unfamiliar to me makes me feel uncomfortable. I imagine this is probably true for most people. Some people show favoritism because they are uncomfortable, and others do so because they are mean-spirited. In either case, believers are instructed not to show favorites.
Those who show favoritism discriminate and become judges with evil thoughts (James 2:4). As I looked at this verse more closely, the part about evil thoughts kept jumping off of the page at me. Showing favoritism originates in a person’s thought life. What kinds of thoughts promote favoritism? That’s the question I want to answer.
People often play favorites because they think they’re better than others. They accept those who they believe to be of equal or higher status, and they look down on those who appear to be beneath them. They draw these conclusions based on looks, wealth, occupation, influence, ethnicity, etc. These people often show favoritism based on stereotypes (James 2:2-3).
Others play favorites because they think they will benefit personally by doing so. Many people favor those who might be able to help escalate their careers, or they may try to butter up certain individuals for financial gain. They think being seen with the “right” people will bring promotion and being seen with the “wrong” people somehow brings demotion.
Bottom line: When favoritism is shown, somebody gets hurt, and it’s usually the one who gets slighted. I want to encourage you today not to show partiality. Maybe you tend to think you are better than certain people, or perhaps you have favored people who somehow benefit you personally. If so, receive forgiveness today, and purpose to live free from favoritism.
James 2:13 — Mercy triumphs over judgment! (NIV)
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