January 18, 2014
READ: James 2:1-13
My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favour some people over others? (v.1).
Many years ago it was assumed that women could not play the French horn better than men. Their thoughts were challenged and disproved, however, when Julie Landsman auditioned for the role of principal French horn for the renowned Metropolitan Opera. During her audition, Landsman sat and played behind a screen—and played beautifully. After being declared the winner of the lead chair based on sound alone, she stepped out from behind the screen. The judges gasped! They didn’t expect to see a woman.
Two millennia ago James had to remind a group of believers in Jesus that they shouldn’t allow others’ outward appearances and their own inner prejudice to colour how they viewed one another. He gently rebuked these believers: My brothers, stop judging one another according to first appearances (James 2:2-4). He called them brothers because they belonged to one another and because they had the same Father through Jesus. Based on this union and the character of God, they needed to stop evaluating and discriminating against people based on looks, ethnicity, culture, age, education and socioeconomic status (Leviticus 19:15; Deuteronomy 10:17). This type of treatment of one another was sinful, inconsistent with their faith in Jesus, betrayed the grace of God and violated the law of love. For James, the answer to prejudice was to follow the example of Jesus: love your neighbour as yourself.
Our heavenly Father is a God who shows no favouritism or partiality (Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11) and He has forbidden prejudice and partiality among His children (Leviticus 19:15). Let’s stand together and fight the sin of prejudice by letting our love for God find full expression in our love for one another. —Marvin Williams
Read 1 Samuel 16:1-13 and see the context in which God told one of His servants not to judge based on outward appearances.
Who helped to shape your theology of the treatment of people? What are some things you can do to love and treat people as Jesus did?