Do you obey the law? Or are you a lawbreaker? Do you show favoritism? Or do you treat everyone equally? Do you love your neighbor? Are you wondering what these questions have in common?
I venture to say most of us obey the law, generally speaking. After all, who doesn’t speed on occasion? But we don’t steal, and we don’t murder. We abide by the laws of the land rather than risk being convicted criminals.
Jesus tells us loving God and loving our neighbor are the basis for the law (Matthew 22:37-40). In today’s passage, James narrows it down to just loving our neighbor. I believe James was writing to fellow followers of Christ and assumed they loved God. I’m sure that is still true today to a large degree, but not in all cases. I’ve seen too many people simply going through the motions in church.
But what does this have to do with showing favoritism? Notice James states showing favoritism is a sin and we are convicted as lawbreakers. Wow! That seems a bit harsh, doesn’t it? Or does it? Think about it for just a few moments. What happens when we show favoritism? We allow someone to get by with something we wouldn’t let someone else get by with. A secondary effect of that could cause us to lie for them. It could lead us to cover up a wrong done by them.
Another effect of favoritism is division among the group. You see, others will see the favoritism and they will resent it. Who wants to see the division? Satan. So, by showing favoritism, we are playing right into Satan’s hands.
Favoritism corrupts the person being shown favoritism. If they receive once, they expect it the next time. They may begin to feel they are entitled to it. When it isn’t shown, they grow upset and cause more division.
Finally, favoritism is not showing love. As you look at the division and disruption, you cannot call anything about it love. Oh, there are people who will attempt to justify it, but it is not true love. At best it is a false love and used as a means of manipulation.
I pray we all love our neighbor. I pray we determine not to show favoritism. I pray we show true love for one another through grace and mercy rather than being convicted by the law. Love your neighbor. Love your brother and sister in Christ. Refrain from showing favoritism.
James 2:8-9 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.