Playing Favorites (Part 1)

Susan Hetrick

Read: James 2:1-7

My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. (v. 1)

Mahatma Gandhi was a wise man, who led India in the independence movement against British rule and developed nonviolent civil disobedience. He was extremely well-educated, and a voracious reader. He was curious about Jesus, and read the Gospels in order to learn more about him. Gandhi often quoted from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. However, he later told how he once tried to enter a Christian church to worship, and the ushers refused to let him through the door, rudely suggesting that Gandhi should “leave or be thrown down the steps.” Gandhi famously said, “Oh, I don’t reject Christ. I love Christ. It’s just that so many of you Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

James makes it very clear in this passage that we often judge or discriminate without even thinking about it! You may not think that you favor the rich, but ask yourself: did you look down on that woman at the store when you noticed she was using food stamps? You passed a homeless man on your way to work recently; did you invite him to church, or offer him a meal? Did you know that some 1.2 billion people worldwide live on less than $1.25 a day (World Bank Web site)?

Jesus said that we will always have the poor among us (John 12:8), and he also said we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. James is just reminding us what that should look like.

—Susan Hetrick

Holy Spirit, help me to love others without favoritism.