‘My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.’ — James 2:1
All of us like to think of ourselves as fair and impartial, but prejudice must be an issue for Christians or there would not be an entire chapter in James about it. Do we really think we are more mature than the people to whom James wrote his letter?
The picture James paints of kindness to the wealthy man and unkindness to the poor man is a convicting one. This type of favouritism based on externals shows a complete misunderstanding of God’s value system (v.5). Prejudicial thinking is evil (v.4) and fails to obey the royal law of loving our neighbour as ourselves (v.8).
God is very blunt. He says, ‘If ye have respect of persons, ye commit sin!’ It is a breaking of God’s law just as adultery and murder are a transgression of God’s law (v.9-11).
God finishes the chapter by telling us that true faith will be revealed in works (v.14-26). One of those works of course is to not have respect of persons but to treat everyone with love and without partiality.
How are we doing in our love for others? How do we do at treating people fairly and equitably? Do we judge based on external characteristics or do we work to see people the way God sees them?