“have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?” – James 2:4 (ESV)
There have always been people who think they are better than everyone else. Some feel they are better than everyone else because they have a lot of money. Others because they have power. There are those who feel superior because they belong to a certain social class, religious group or racial group. Still others feel a sense of moral superiority. It reminds one of the “Pharisee who stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not like other people—cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I’m certainly not like that tax collector.” (Matthew 18:11)
What does God think about people who have an air of superiority over others? The Bible says not very much. For example, Proverbs 16:18 warns us, “Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.” James talks about this very issue in chapter 2 of his letter. James deals with the Christian’s attitude towards others especially to people from different strata of society. He teaches us the wrongs of being partial towards people based on their appearance, gender, ability, possession, and even position. We were all created in the image of God. Genesis 1:27 says, “ So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
It is easy to have preconceived perceptions between the wealthy and the poor. It is easy to think the wealthy are more spiritual than the poor ones. Since they are blessed with possessions, they think that might be the indication that God is blessing them above and beyond the poor. But Proverbs 22:2 says; “The rich and poor have this in common: The Lord made them both.” This clearly shows that no matter what your social status is, what God cares about is who you are in Christ Jesus.
In Romans 2: 6-11 (ESV), Paul says, “He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; … For God shows no partiality.” God will judge the people not by their appearance or their circumstances or their cultural or religious advantages. God is impartial. He is not a “respecter of persons.” He sees through them and goes to the heart of the matter and is not partial to appearance and circumstance. Nobody breaks the rules and gets away with it, no matter how powerful or clever or wealthy or networked. All are judged by the same measure.
Christians need to acknowledge and accept the fact that people come from different backgrounds and cultures, but all are precious to God. We should love everyone regardless of their race, religion, wealth, status etc.
- In what ways do you see yourself being partial?
- What can we do this week to be less impartial?