James 2:1-10 - My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, "You sit here in a good place," while you say to the poor man, "You stand over there," or, "Sit down at my feet," have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which He has promised to those who love Him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable Name by which you were called? If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.
I remember playing neighborhood baseball as a kid. Once, and this didn't ordinarily happen, I ended being the "captain" of one of the teams. The first few picks were easy; Johnny had a great arm and knew how to catch; Roger could hit the ball; Larry—when he wasn't showboatin'—threw a wicked fastball.
As the picks went on, the choices got tougher, more emotional, in a way. Pete was all right playing catcher, but we already had Frankie, and he had his own catcher's mitt! Henry would do all right in the outfield, provided nobody hit the ball his way. And Lou, well, he had a great Matchbox car collection.
Scripture has a lot to say about partiality (see Deuteronomy 10:17; Leviticus 19:15; Job 34:19; Matthew 7:12; Acts 10:34-35; Romans 2:11-16). One thing the Bible says is that God is not partial: He doesn't favor or disfavor someone based on His personal bias. Nor does He want us to do this either.
Quite frankly, this might be one of the toughest directives we've received from God. When I think of the nano-second decision-making process that takes place in my head when I first meet someone, it's a wonder anyone has a chance at all.
But praise be to God, He is not that way with us! No, when we were down and out, defeated in our sins, He came to us, reached down and saved us, and did this purely out of His love and mercy.
"But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved" (Ephesians 2:4-5).
That's right. God picked you—and me—no matter how bad we've been or how well He thinks we'll play.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, You love us for us—and that's a love that's hard to understand. Teach us to love others this way, too. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Paul Schreiber.
1. Is it easy or hard for you to be impartial toward others when you first meet them?
2. Do you recall the last time someone slighted you (for no reason); how did that make you feel?
3. What kind of mental strategies help you act impartially toward others?
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