We all have favourites – favourite films, favourite food, favourite place to go, things that make us feel safe…
Warning against Having Favourites
2 My friends, if you have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, you won’t treat some people better than others. 2 Suppose a rich person wearing fancy clothes and a gold ring comes to one of your meetings. And suppose a poor person dressed in worn-out clothes also comes. 3 You must not give the best seat to the one in fancy clothes and tell the one who is poor to stand at the side or sit on the floor. 4 That is the same as saying that some people are better than others, and you would be acting like a crooked judge.
5 My dear friends, pay attention. God has given a lot of faith to the poor people in this world. He has also promised them a share in his kingdom that he will give to everyone who loves him. 6 You mistreat the poor. But isn’t it the rich who boss you around and drag you off to court? 7 Aren’t they the ones who make fun of your Lord?
8 You will do all right, if you obey the most important law in the Scriptures. It is the law that commands us to love others as much as we love ourselves. 9 But if you treat some people better than others, you have done wrong, and the Scriptures teach that you have sinned.
10 If you obey every law except one, you are still guilty of breaking them all. 11 The same God who told us to be faithful in marriage also told us not to murder. So even if you are faithful in marriage, but murder someone, you still have broken God’s Law.
12 Speak and act like people who will be judged by the law that sets us free. 13 Do this, because on the day of judgement there will be no pity for those who have not had pity on others. But even in judgement, God is merciful!
Faith and Works
14 My friends, what good is it to say you have faith, when you don’t do anything to show that you really do have faith? Can that kind of faith save you? 15 If you know someone who doesn’t have any clothes or food, 16 you shouldn’t just say, “I hope all goes well for you. I hope you will be warm and have plenty to eat.” What good is it to say this, unless you do something to help? 17 Faith that doesn’t lead us to do good deeds is all alone and dead!
What we shouldn’t have is favourite people – those we stop and speak to, and those we don’t; those we listen to, and those we don’t; those we cut some slack, and those we don’t; those we help, and those we won’t; those we give respect to, and those we don’t…
James reminds us that God’s way does not treat some better than others – if it were we might not find ourselves as secure as we think – so why would we do any different?
If someone important looking turns up, do we treat them differently to someone who doesn’t dress so well? Would we treat the mayor differently to a homeless person if they both cam into our church one day? You would hope not – but… really?
Or are there some people we like, and others we find very difficult? Do we treat them the same?
God welcomes all into his kingdom, and it is no business of ours to do differently – for we only welcome people on behalf of God.
We show our faith, by acting as God does. How can you do that where you are today?
may I love and live for you.
May my ways be your ways,
your love my love,
your acceptance mine
– may I see no favourites,
just people you love and welcome