James 2:2-4 “For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, ‘You sit here in a good place,’ and say to the poor man, ‘You stand there,’ or, ‘Sit here at my footstool,’ have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?”
Jesus: a friend of sinners, outcasts, thieves. He didn’t do what the religious community thought that He should. He came to do what the world needed Him to. He served the needy. He saw through the fake. He healed the broken. He called the hypocrites on the table. He held the children. He helped the needy.
Think of the kind of people that He touched, physically. Lepers: (Matthew 8:3) if a Jew touched a leper, they were made unclean. A dead body: (Matthew 9:25) again, it was considered unclean for a Jew to touch a dead body. He was so confident in what He was to do that He would do anything the Father put before Him.
Think of what we do in the church today. Someone walks through the doors that reminds us of someone we don’t like. We avoid them. Someone is very influential in the business world. We make ourselves their best friend. Someone comes in off the streets that smells. We find someone else to help them.
We want the no muss, no fuss people that everyone likes. This doesn’t just go for the church but everywhere we go. Do we ignore people that might get us messy or “unclean”?
I work in customer service and my job calls for no partiality. It is still so easy to pick and choose who to be nice to, who to give special attention to, who to judge at first glance. Why? First impression. The way they appear. “Fine apparel” vs. “filthy clothes”. But who gave me the right to be judge?
James 2:8-9 “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you do well; but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors.”
Do I treat people, on first impression, the way that I would want to be treated. Think of the place, the circumstance, the people; and put yourself in their shoes. What are they thinking? How are they feeling? If that’s not motivation enough, it’s just plain wrong.
Do unto others. Show no partiality. Walk in Jesus’ shoes. Be the face you would want to encounter.