We’re often entranced by those who have what we don’t—riches, popularity, position, and power. We want to befriend cool moms, hipsters with ironic mustaches, and supervisors who can get us to the next step on the corporate ladder. We relate to them differently, even though we know we shouldn’t.
Our problem is one of perception. In his letter, James reprimands members of the early church community who were displaying partiality by honoring the rich and overlooking the poor. James shows them that they need to reset their standards because making distinctions in this way doesn’t reflect God’s nature, and it doesn’t reflect the grace He extends to us: “Did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him?” (Jas 2:5).
We shouldn’t act with partiality because God didn’t deal with us in that way. We don’t deserve God’s love, yet He, in His perfect holiness, chose to give it to the unpopular, the uncool, the dirty, and the undeserving—which is all of us. James shows us that the proper response to this grace is to love our neighbor: “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing well” (Jas 2:8).
Brought into a new community of faith based on grace, Christ-followers aren’t meant to live by the judgment-based standards of their old way of being. The members of James’ community had to reset their standards, and that’s a message we still need to hear today.
Do you make distinctions? How can you view others through the grace that God has shown to you?