Tuesday, June 22, 2010

June 22, 2010

"Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. 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," have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?" James 2:2-4
Everyone has favorites don't they? How is it possible to not prefer some people or some things over another? If you had to choose between guacamole and a banana split, I'll bet you could do that. So, why would James tell us not to have favorites?
The short answer is - He doesn't.
He doesn't tell us not to have preferences or favorites, but he commands us to not allow them to influence how we treat others. Believers are to treat people the same regardless of personal preferences.
Isn't that fake?
No, it is faith. Faith does what is right not what is comfortable or easy.
When you treat a rich person better than a poor person does that necessarily mean you like the rich person better than you like the poor person? Probably not! It probably means that you like what the rich person can do for you. So, is that not fake? Of course it is!
A church should be a faith place and not a fake place. So, love must rule the day and love treats everyone the same regardless of personal preferences.
Did Jesus have personal preferences? Where there people He liked better than others? Of course! He had twelve disciples but there were three in His inner circle. His favorite place to go was the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus.
Many of the Pharisees and religious leaders were exceedingly cruel and critical of Jesus. He didn't like anything about them and let them know it. They were far from being His favorites.
When Jesus died on the cross He died for everyone. He didn't die for just the people He cared most about.
If we in the Church are to be the people of the Christ, and we are. And if we in the Church are to be people of the cross, and we are. Then we must, like Christ on the cross, treat everyone with love and respect regardless of our own personal preferences or biases.
Easier said than done - but it must be done for the glory of God and the health of the Church.