Sometimes we permanently categorize peoples by
• How they look
• What they have
• How many followers they have on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.
We even categorize peoples age if they have more followers on Facebook than they do on Instagram.
Many times those who are popular tend to have more people in their circle of influence, while those who are less popular do not and favoritism is shown to those who have the power of personality, popularity, and influence.
This is not to say that in every instance this is wrong or unmerited.
I do believe our motivation for deciding who should be deemed worthy of our attention and who should not deserves a second look.
In the second chapter of James the writer observes behavior that is obviously troubling to him.
He describes a situation that would be troubling outside the church even more so inside of it.
A rich man with gold rings and fine clothes has been shown to the best seat in the house. The poor man in shabby clothes has been assigned a seat in the back row.
James presents a question to his audience, ” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?”
Discrimination which is very prevalent in our world should get our attention but the statement, “judges with evil thoughts” certainly should.
In a court of law a judge with evil thoughts towards the defendant or the prosecution would be unable to make a sound judgment based on the law and the evidence before him or her.
We are held to a much higher law that states “we are to love our neighbor as ourselves.
What motivates us to judge who has value who does not?
To show favoritism based on appearence, material wealth, popularity?
I see three things that could influence how we in James view “judge” people.
We determine someone value based on “external” criteria. And doing so misunderstand who is important and blessed by God and who is not.
We assume that the rich man is more important revealing we put too much value on material riches.
We show preferential treatment revealing a self serving agenda because we believe we can get more from that person who “has it all”.
James message is clear.
In the church there is no room for this type of favoritism.
And if we are guilty of this type of behavior towards those outside the church, we miss the whole reason Jesus came.