Don’t Play Favorites! – Part 2
“… have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? (James 2:4 NIV)
A leader in the early Church, James saw people practicing favoritism—Christians treating other people for whom Christ died, differently, based on the way they were dressed; and he spoke out about it in his New Testament letter, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. He said you that can’t do that if you follow Jesus; it dishonors the name of the Lord. You can’t have a church geared to middle class people so that when a poor person comes in, you have congregants thinking, “How did that guy get in here?” The bottom line is that believers in the Lord Jesus Christ can’t play favorites!
Even before Jesus came to earth, the Bible warned God’s people against showing partiality. The Law of Moses said, “Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great” (Leviticus 19:15). Now we have another biblical concept: It’s wrong to discriminate against the poor, but it’s also wrong to favor the poor! In other words, don’t favor the rich and compliment them to get on their good side, because God hates flattery; but don’t favor poor people either, perverting justice by giving them a pass when they’re guilty of wrongdoing … It doesn’t please the Lord when we play favorites in that way.
In the same way, God doesn’t like it when we favor white people; and he hates it when we only like black people; and he can’t stand it when we show favoritism to people who are from our own religious denomination or our country or our ethnic group.
The bottom line is that prejudice of any kind is horrible! It’s something God detests, because he is not just the God of white people or black people or rich people or poor people or people from a certain denomination (or no denomination!). Jesus isn’t white; nor is he a black Jesus or a Latino or Asian Jesus. He’s Jesus, Son of the living God, and he shed his blood for all people! God is spirit, the Bible says, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth—in sincerity (see John 4:24)!