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Day 2123 – James – Wisdom is Faith in Action 5 – Partiality and Prejudice – Daily Wisdom
14th March 2023 • Wisdom-Trek © • H. Guthrie Chamberlain, III
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Welcome to Day 2123 of Wisdom-Trek, and thank you for joining me.

This is Guthrie Chamberlain, Your Guide to Wisdom

James – Wisdom is Faith in Action 5 – Partiality and Prejudice – Daily Wisdom

Putnam Church Message – 10/03/2021

James: Wisdom is Faith In Action – Partiality and Prejudice

We are continuing our series today on the Proverbs of the New Testament, better known as the book of James.  Last week we focused on Listening and Doing Good. Today we will cover some hot topics in our society, but they are even more important within the church.  Our focus is on Partiality and Prejudice.  Join me on page 1882 in the pew bibles as I read the Scripture for today. I would recommend keeping this passage open as we go throughout the message today: James 2:1-13 My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. 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. 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? Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong? If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,”[a] you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11 For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,”[b] also said, “You shall not murder.”[c] If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker. 12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.   In many of our Christian lives, we wrestle against a form of Christianity obsessed with externals. Too many believers draw quick conclusions about people based merely on their first impressions— almost as if they had forgotten what we are told in 1 Samuel 16:7, But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” Almost subconsciously, our prejudices form in our minds when we see those who claim to be a Christ-follower or when someone walks into a church, we may think:
  • Her hair is too short, or his hair is too long.
  • He shouldn’t wear that to church.
  • What’s with those tattoos?
  • That car is too expensive.
  • Their house is too big.
  • He has a Ph.D.
  • She didn’t even graduate from high school.
  • They go to public school.
  • They’re homeschoolers.
  Prejudice. Our English word stems from a Latin noun that emphasizes a prejudgment of someone, causing us to form an opinion before knowing all the facts. Once we’ve raced to our conclusions, ignoring those essential facts, we’re well on our way to establishing an irrational, insidious attitude that says, “My mind’s made up. Don’t confuse me with the facts.”   The whole point of James 2:1-13 is to diffuse that kind of faulty thinking. As a master communicator, James first states his principle (1) and then provides a real-life illustration of the principle (2-4). Next, he explains why such behavior is inconsistent with authentic Christian faith (5-11) and ends with a final exhortation to do what’s right (12-13). — 2:1 — James begins by saying, “Faith in Christ and partiality or prejudice are incompatible.” This verse's command is straightforward: “you must not show favoritism.” Next, James addresses Christians, whom he calls “My brothers and sisters,” who already have faith in Christ. The issue is not what they believe or whom they trust. James uses some of the most exalted language for Christ in this brief statement—“our glorious Lord Jesus Christ.” So, their theology was correct. They were part of God’s forever family.   But something was wrong. The attitude that accompanied their faith didn’t fit. The Greek word translated as “personal favoritism” is a compound word that communicates the idea of “receiving the face.” What a great way to put it! You see a person’s outward appearance (their “face”) and receive that image as if it’s real. The word is used in the New Testament in reference to God. In Acts 10:34, Then Peter replied, “I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism. God judges the truth of a matter by the heart, not the face. And Christians are called to reflect this quality in their own lives as imagers of God.   A word of clarification is in order. Partiality and prejudice can go in one of two directions: positive or negative. By merely looking at the outside characteristics, we can miss fatal character flaws in a person masked by attractive attire, smooth talk, and a firm handshake. On the other hand, we can too quickly condemn a person based on outward appearance, failing to see the Christlike character and abundant spiritual fruit that compose the person’s true identity. So, James isn’t questioning the importance of wise character study to discern whether we should be involved with a person. We should all exercise that kind of discernment. Instead, James is addressing the problem of prejudice—a judgment made before any careful understanding.   -2:2-4 — Like windows of light flooding a home with beauty, illustrations open the truth to our minds and let it shine in our hearts. James is a master illustrator. He doesn’t just leave his readers with a rule to follow; he tells them a story they can relate to.   The setting of the illustration is the “assembly.” The word here isn’t ekklêsia, “church,” but synagôgê, “meeting.” This word referred to any meeting, not just a Jewish synagogue. Early Jewish Christians were sometimes able to meet in Jewish synagogues. Still, before long, the unbelieving Jews decided that they couldn’t tolerate fellow Jews who believed in Jesus as the promised Messiah, and they expelled them. Wherever they met, which may be in homes or other convenient locations, the term synagôgê described their meetings. As we apply these verses to our day, the “assembly” represents our place of worship or fellowship.   In James’s illustration, two men stand out as the church gathers for worship. One is dressed to the nines—from fancy jewelry to expensive, elegant clothing. In the ancient Near East, it was customary for people of great wealth or nobility to wear jewel-studded garments of fine fabric like silk. (Show blue garment with hat) Their garments announced that they were influential, powerful people who could change your life with a nod of their heads. But something about this illustration would probably strike James’s first-century readers as odd. When James wrote this letter, the story was usually reversed— Christians were often brought into the assemblies of the rich and powerful for interrogation and judgment. It wasn’t typical for the wealthy and respectable to show up at church! So, having caught his readers’ imagination, James introduces the second character in his illustration.   A poor man in grubby, soiled clothes wanders into the assembly. His clothes hang from his skinny form. This person has no jewels, silk, or entourage to protect him from thieves or assassins. This person does not influence anyone. (Grubby outfit on hanger stuffed) Please note that this isn’t just an average man off the street coming to church out of curiosity. This one stands out to ordinary people as exceptionally poor, just as the wealthy man stood out as enviably rich.   This situation leaves the greeter with a decision and no time to think. In cases like this, a person’s true character shines through. What do they do? In James’s illustration, the greeter is blinded by the bling (2:3). The rich man gets VIP treatment: “Here’s a good seat for you”  We see another illustration of this in Matthew 23:6, And they love to sit at the head table at banquets and in the seats of honor in the synagogues. This verse indicates there must have been preferred seating for people of importance. (Move seat beside pulpit) In an ancient synagogue, the pulpit stood near the center of the meeting hall.  The tabernacle, where the scrolls were kept, was toward the front. Seating for men ran along the two sides, and women and children sat on a balcony. The best seats in the house would have been nearest the pulpit.  (Give an illustration of the church platform and insert)   While the rich man is shown a seat of honor, the poor man doesn’t even get a seat! Instead, with a wave of the hand or an impatient huff, the greeter barks, You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet (2:3). In other words, “Stay out of the way!” (move chair outside of platform)   Now let me clarify what James is not saying in this passage. The illustration is about the one who judges the rich man as better than the poor man. It’s not about the rich man or the poor man. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with being rich. And there’s nothing necessarily wrong with being poor. The problem James is addressing is the motive that affects the behavior.  It’s about partiality   In 2:4, James announces his verdict: the greeter is guilty of discrimination. He “made distinctions” and became a judge not with objective clarity but with “evil motives.” Maybe he sat the rich person in the place of honor, initially thinking it would win him personal favor with an influential politician. Instead, perhaps less personally—but just as wrong—the greeter envisions the significant financial contribution that could come to the church through such a wealthy man.   James couldn’t be more transparent. This kind of prejudice is a sin. If there’s one place where class distinctions should be abolished, it’s our places of worship. Discrimination over color, political persuasion, financial status, fashion, appearance, or any other measure doesn’t belong in the church, either inside or outside its doors, private or public.   -2:5-11 — Here James shifts into low gear and explains why prejudice and partiality are unfit for Christians. He gives three reasons: a theological reason, a logical reason, and a biblical reason.   A Theological Reason (5). God shows no partiality, so neither should His children. The apostle Paul develops this theological principle in 1 Corinthians 1:26-29. Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.   A Logical Reason (6-7). James asks two rhetorical questions, which reveal much about the Jewish Christians' situation. First, the rich and powerful persecuted the Christians, dragging them before the authorities (6). Second, the rich and powerful blasphemed Christ’s name (7). Reading between the lines, we can tell that the poor were not involved in this persecution. So, indiscriminately showing favoritism toward the rich and mistreating the poor made no sense at all! A Biblical Reason (8-11). Finally, James points his readers to Scripture, which excludes all partiality. James repurposes Leviticus 19:18“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord. Sound familiar? James’s readers would have immediately recognized this as a key Old Testament verse Jesus used in His teaching in Matthew. 19:19; when he quoted Leviticus 19:18.  It’s the basis for His “Golden Rule,” which we studied during The Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7:12. Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets. Christ called this the second of the two greatest commandments: to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.   Paul said this in Galatians 5:14 For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Given the fundamental importance of this “royal law,” to break this one law is like breaking all of them; and, vice versa, James 2:11 For the same God who said, “You must not commit adultery,” also said, “You must not murder.” So if you murder someone but do not commit adultery, you have still broken the law.  For this reason, prejudice—which refuses to love all equally—transgresses the greatest commandment.   -2:12-13 — James wraps up his indictment against partiality with an appeal to apply his teaching. Let Scripture be your standard! Let love be your law! Let mercy be your message! Speak not and act not out of natural, superficial, cultural conditioning. To speak and act that way makes believers into lawbreakers, subjecting them to God’s discipline. Believers will never fall under condemnation by God; as we are told in Romans 8:1, they will be judged and rewarded on how they conduct themselves in this life. James reveals the standard by which all believers will be judged in verse 12. Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom.  The NLT puts it this way, So whatever you say or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law that sets you free. In the context of verses 8-11, we know the law James had in mind—the liberating, royal law that excludes all prejudice and puts away all partiality—“Love your neighbor as yourself.”   APPLICATION: JAMES 2:1-13 Prejudice Is a Sin As the old adage goes, “birds of a feather flock together.” How true that is, even in our churches. I’m tempted to say, especially in our churches. We have large churches, small churches, downtown churches, suburban churches, inner-city churches, young churches, old churches, formal churches, and informal churches—all of them composed of people who look the same, think the same, talk, and act the same. But, oh, they often mistrust, dislike, or alienate the “others” outside their culture.  We may not admit or realize it, but it does happen.   Why has it been so difficult for Christians to take James’s words about partiality and prejudice seriously? We’re okay with loving our neighbors as long as we get to pick the neighborhood! But James’s words concerning bias and partiality should challenge our attitudes—and change our actions. So, finally, at the close of 2:1-13, James leaves us with some ways to apply his principles against prejudice in our lives.   First, let the Scriptures—not your habits—be your standard (12). To an extent, we all have ingrained prejudices.  It is part of our nature. We may have been taught it in school, in our families, among our friends, or even in church pulpits. But we have to call it what the Bible calls it—sin.  James said prejudice and faith in Christ do not mix (2:1). So stop holding on to your prejudices and hiding behind flimsy excuses.  Although it has become a political hot potato,  being fueled in our current society and packaged in the dangerous concepts of critical race theory, we need to strip away those concepts and follow what Scripture teaches. It does not matter what ethnic, economic, or political group someone belongs to. They could be black, white, Hispanic, Arab, Asian, Palestinian, Jewish, rich, poor, right, left, republican, democrat, white-collar, or blue-collar; we must overcome our prejudice and biases against others! Decide right now to agree with Scripture and call it what it is.   Second, let love be your law (12). James calls the command to “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  “royal law” (8) and “the law that sets you free” (12). When we encounter people different from us—older or younger, lighter or darker, richer or poorer—we must resist the question, “How can I get as far away from this person as possible?” Instead, we must answer, “How can I best love this person in word and action?” How can I help them? How can I build this person up? How can I show grace and mercy instead of discrimination and partiality?   As you seek to apply James’s message, ask God to reveal where you may be guilty of favoritism and partiality. At the same time, ask for discernment to make accurate distinctions about how to love, whom to trust, and when to confront.   James isn’t saying we must treat every soul on earth exactly the same, but we can’t mistreat people based on our superficial prejudices. If we approach each person we meet as an opportunity to...

Transcripts

Welcome to Day:

This is Guthrie Chamberlain, Your Guide to Wisdom

James – Wisdom is Faith in Action 5 – Partiality and Prejudice – Daily Wisdom

/:

James: Wisdom is Faith In Action – Partiality and Prejudice

Prejudice.  Join me on page:

James 2:1-13

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?

5 Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? 7 Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?

8 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,”[a] you are doing right. 9 But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11 For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,”[b] also said, “You shall not murder.”[c] If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.

12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

 

In many of our Christian lives, we wrestle against a form of Christianity obsessed with externals. Too many believers draw quick conclusions about people based merely on their first impressions— almost as if they had forgotten what we are told in 1 Samuel 16:7, But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Almost subconsciously, our prejudices form in our minds when we see those who claim to be a Christ-follower or when someone walks into a church, we may think:

Her hair is too short, or his hair is too long.

He shouldn’t wear that to church.

What’s with those tattoos?

That car is too expensive.

Their house is too big.

He has a Ph.D.

She didn’t even graduate from high school.

They go to public school.

They’re homeschoolers.

Prejudice. Our English word stems from a Latin noun that emphasizes a prejudgment of someone, causing us to form an opinion before knowing all the facts. Once we’ve raced to our conclusions, ignoring those essential facts, we’re well on our way to establishing an irrational, insidious attitude that says, “My mind’s made up. Don’t confuse me with the facts.”

The whole point of James 2:1-13 is to diffuse that kind of faulty thinking. As a master communicator, James first states his principle (1) and then provides a real-life illustration of the principle (2-4). Next, he explains why such behavior is inconsistent with authentic Christian faith (5-11) and ends with a final exhortation to do what’s right (12-13).

— 2:1 —

James begins by saying, “Faith in Christ and partiality or prejudice are incompatible.” This verse's command is straightforward: “you must not show favoritism.” Next, James addresses Christians, whom he calls “My brothers and sisters,” who already have faith in Christ. The issue is not what they believe or whom they trust. James uses some of the most exalted language for Christ in this brief statement—“our glorious Lord Jesus Christ.” So, their theology was correct. They were part of God’s forever family.

in reference to God. In Acts:

A word of clarification is in order. Partiality and prejudice can go in one of two directions: positive or negative. By merely looking at the outside characteristics, we can miss fatal character flaws in a person masked by attractive attire, smooth talk, and a firm handshake. On the other hand, we can too quickly condemn a person based on outward appearance, failing to see the Christlike character and abundant spiritual fruit that compose the person’s true identity. So, James isn’t questioning the importance of wise character study to discern whether we should be involved with a person. We should all exercise that kind of discernment. Instead, James is addressing the problem of prejudice—a judgment made before any careful understanding.

-2:2-4 —

Like windows of light flooding a home with beauty, illustrations open the truth to our minds and let it shine in our hearts. James is a master illustrator. He doesn’t just leave his readers with a rule to follow; he tells them a story they can relate to.

The setting of the illustration is the “assembly.” The word here isn’t ekklêsia, “church,” but synagôgê, “meeting.” This word referred to any meeting, not just a Jewish synagogue. Early Jewish Christians were sometimes able to meet in Jewish synagogues. Still, before long, the unbelieving Jews decided that they couldn’t tolerate fellow Jews who believed in Jesus as the promised Messiah, and they expelled them. Wherever they met, which may be in homes or other convenient locations, the term synagôgê described their meetings. As we apply these verses to our day, the “assembly” represents our place of worship or fellowship.

In James’s illustration, two men stand out as the church gathers for worship. One is dressed to the nines—from fancy jewelry to expensive, elegant clothing. In the ancient Near East, it was customary for people of great wealth or nobility to wear jewel-studded garments of fine fabric like silk. (Show blue garment with hat) Their garments announced that they were influential, powerful people who could change your life with a nod of their heads. But something about this illustration would probably strike James’s first-century readers as odd. When James wrote this letter, the story was usually reversed— Christians were often brought into the assemblies of the rich and powerful for interrogation and judgment. It wasn’t typical for the wealthy and respectable to show up at church! So, having caught his readers’ imagination, James introduces the second character in his illustration.

A poor man in grubby, soiled clothes wanders into the assembly. His clothes hang from his skinny form. This person has no jewels, silk, or entourage to protect him from thieves or assassins. This person does not influence anyone. (Grubby outfit on hanger stuffed) Please note that this isn’t just an average man off the street coming to church out of curiosity. This one stands out to ordinary people as exceptionally poor, just as the wealthy man stood out as enviably rich.

This situation leaves the greeter with a decision and no time to think. In cases like this, a person’s true character shines through. What do they do? In James’s illustration, the greeter is blinded by the bling (2:3). The rich man gets VIP treatment: “Here’s a good seat for you”  We see another illustration of this in Matthew 23:6, And they love to sit at the head table at banquets and in the seats of honor in the synagogues. This verse indicates there must have been preferred seating for people of importance. (Move seat beside pulpit) In an ancient synagogue, the pulpit stood near the center of the meeting hall.  The tabernacle, where the scrolls were kept, was toward the front. Seating for men ran along the two sides, and women and children sat on a balcony. The best seats in the house would have been nearest the pulpit.  (Give an illustration of the church platform and insert)

While the rich man is shown a seat of honor, the poor man doesn’t even get a seat! Instead, with a wave of the hand or an impatient huff, the greeter barks, You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet (2:3). In other words, “Stay out of the way!” (move chair outside of platform)

Now let me clarify what James is not saying in this passage. The illustration is about the one who judges the rich man as better than the poor man. It’s not about the rich man or the poor man. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with being rich. And there’s nothing necessarily wrong with being poor. The problem James is addressing is the motive that affects the behavior.  It’s about partiality

In 2:4, James announces his verdict: the greeter is guilty of discrimination. He “made distinctions” and became a judge not with objective clarity but with “evil motives.” Maybe he sat the rich person in the place of honor, initially thinking it would win him personal favor with an influential politician. Instead, perhaps less personally—but just as wrong—the greeter envisions the significant financial contribution that could come to the church through such a wealthy man.

James couldn’t be more transparent. This kind of prejudice is a sin. If there’s one place where class distinctions should be abolished, it’s our places of worship. Discrimination over color, political persuasion, financial status, fashion, appearance, or any other measure doesn’t belong in the church, either inside or outside its doors, private or public.

-2:5-11 —

Here James shifts into low gear and explains why prejudice and partiality are unfit for Christians. He gives three reasons: a theological reason, a logical reason, and a biblical reason.

 

A Theological Reason (5). God shows no partiality, so neither should His children. The apostle Paul develops this theological principle in 1 Corinthians 1:26-29.

Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.

A Logical Reason (6-7). James asks two rhetorical questions, which reveal much about the Jewish Christians' situation. First, the rich and powerful persecuted the Christians, dragging them before the authorities (6). Second, the rich and powerful blasphemed Christ’s name (7). Reading between the lines, we can tell that the poor were not involved in this persecution. So, indiscriminately showing favoritism toward the rich and mistreating the poor made no sense at all!

y. James repurposes Leviticus:

Paul said this in Galatians 5:14 For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Given the fundamental importance of this “royal law,” to break this one law is like breaking all of them; and, vice versa, James 2:11 For the same God who said, “You must not commit adultery,” also said, “You must not murder.” So if you murder someone but do not commit adultery, you have still broken the law.  For this reason, prejudice—which refuses to love all equally—transgresses the greatest commandment.

-2:12-13 —

James wraps up his indictment against partiality with an appeal to apply his teaching. Let Scripture be your standard! Let love be your law! Let mercy be your message! Speak not and act not out of natural, superficial, cultural conditioning. To speak and act that way makes believers into lawbreakers, subjecting them to God’s discipline. Believers will never fall under condemnation by God; as we are told in Romans 8:1, they will be judged and rewarded on how they conduct themselves in this life. James reveals the standard by which all believers will be judged in verse 12. Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom.  The NLT puts it this way, So whatever you say or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law that sets you free. In the context of verses 8-11, we know the law James had in mind—the liberating, royal law that excludes all prejudice and puts away all partiality—“Love your neighbor as yourself.”

APPLICATION: JAMES 2:1-13

Prejudice Is a Sin

As the old adage goes, “birds of a feather flock together.” How true that is, even in our churches. I’m tempted to say, especially in our churches. We have large churches, small churches, downtown churches, suburban churches, inner-city churches, young churches, old churches, formal churches, and informal churches—all of them composed of people who look the same, think the same, talk, and act the same. But, oh, they often mistrust, dislike, or alienate the “others” outside their culture.  We may not admit or realize it, but it does happen.

Why has it been so difficult for Christians to take James’s words about partiality and prejudice seriously? We’re okay with loving our neighbors as long as we get to pick the neighborhood! But James’s words concerning bias and partiality should challenge our attitudes—and change our actions. So, finally, at the close of 2:1-13, James leaves us with some ways to apply his principles against prejudice in our lives.

First, let the Scriptures—not your habits—be your standard (12). To an extent, we all have ingrained prejudices.  It is part of our nature. We may have been taught it in school, in our families, among our friends, or even in church pulpits. But we have to call it what the Bible calls it—sin.  James said prejudice and faith in Christ do not mix (2:1). So stop holding on to your prejudices and hiding behind flimsy excuses.  Although it has become a political hot potato,  being fueled in our current society and packaged in the dangerous concepts of critical race theory, we need to strip away those concepts and follow what Scripture teaches. It does not matter what ethnic, economic, or political group someone belongs to. They could be black, white, Hispanic, Arab, Asian, Palestinian, Jewish, rich, poor, right, left, republican, democrat, white-collar, or blue-collar; we must overcome our prejudice and biases against others! Decide right now to agree with Scripture and call it what it is.

Second, let love be your law (12). James calls the command to “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  “royal law” (8) and “the law that sets you free” (12). When we encounter people different from us—older or younger, lighter or darker, richer or poorer—we must resist the question, “How can I get as far away from this person as possible?” Instead, we must answer, “How can I best love this person in word and action?” How can I help them? How can I build this person up? How can I show grace and mercy instead of discrimination and partiality?

As you seek to apply James’s message, ask God to reveal where you may be guilty of favoritism and partiality. At the same time, ask for discernment to make accurate distinctions about how to love, whom to trust, and when to confront.

James isn’t saying we must treat every soul on earth exactly the same, but we can’t mistreat people based on our superficial prejudices.

If we approach each person we meet as an opportunity to demonstrate love, we will make good progress at putting away prejudice from our midst.

Next week our topic from James 2:14-26 is Faith at Work, which mirrors our theme of Wisdom is Faith in Action. Would you please read it this week?

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