Don’t Play Favorites! – Part 6
“Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom.” (James 2:12 NIV)
At the very end of James’ exhortation warning believers not to show favoritism, he appeals to us to speak and act differently, because we are under a different law than the Law of Moses. Through Christ Jesus, the law of the Spirit who gives life has set us free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2). The fact is that, as Christians, we are all going to stand before Jesus one day, not to face judgment for our sins, of course, because Christ took our sins away. But we’re all going to stand before Jesus, and he’s not going to ask how much money we made or where we were born; he’s going to give a review of the quality of our work and the quality of our life—what we did in the body that he redeemed. In view of this, shouldn’t we want to show mercy to others, even as he has shown mercy to us?
Sometimes we struggle showing mercy because we have been hurt and devastated by people, and it can turn into a stronghold of Satan in our lives. Lack of forgiveness and lack of mercy thus end up prevailing in our lives, so that we’re not able to step back and see people for what they are or remember that we all have weaknesses. We can really hold on to bitterness in our hearts, even against parents or a child or a spouse, and it ends up hurting us. On the other hand, sometimes we find it a challenge to show mercy to people that we simply find annoying and that get under our skin. Yes, sometimes we have to confront people who have really hurt us, because there’s a block and we can’t go forward. We are told in Scripture to go even to those who have something they’re holding against us! But at other times, it’s hurt over petty things, even though we may have done those very same things to someone else. Either way, James is telling us to show mercy, because God has been merciful to us!
We can be held back in our Christian walk, either by playing favorites with people, or by letting the enemy of our souls continually remind us of the ways we’ve been hurt in life. If you have been struggling this way, why don’t you pray today: “Holy Spirit, I’m tired of myself! I don’t want to show favoritism to rich, poor, white, black, Asian, Latino, Democrat, Republican, or any other person. Help me by your grace to treat everyone the way Jesus did. I don’t want to hold on to things folks have done that have gotten under my skin—whether the person is a relative, a classmate, a coworker, a boss… even a friend that may have disappointed me. I’m humbling myself before you, because you have shown great mercy to me, and I want to show mercy to others. So I need grace now, Lord, to let it go. I don’t want to look down on anybody, no matter what they look like, no matter their position in life and—here’s the hard part—no matter what they have done.”
As you have this heart attitude before God, you’re going to see God lift that burden of hurt and resentment off you, and you’re going to have your joy restored. No matter how mean people may have been to you, they’re not going to have the last word. God is going to have the last word in your life, for “mercy triumphs over judgment”!
Read James 2:12-13.