Do you think that you hold yourself higher than others? Do you look down upon other people as if you’re better than them? Do you judge people by their appearance and place a label on them? Most of us would say no to all those questions, but I think if we truly dig deep within ourselves we may just find that we actually would have to say yes to all of them. James 2:1
1 My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality.
The Greek meaning for partiality is favoritism. James 2:2-4
2 For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes,
3 and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, ”You sit here in a good place,” and say to the poor man, “ You stand there,” or, “sit at my footstool,”
4 Have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?
James just gives us an example as how we would show favoritism without maybe necessarily knowing it. Have we not judged him and labeled the poor guy with thoughts of our own, perhaps we have not shown openness and love? We all, I am afraid, do this day to day. As we go along in life we show favoritism among the ones we encounter. If we go to town to the gas station and beside us pulls up a car that’s about to fall apart and then someone gets out that is dirty from head to toe, do we not turn to the one beside us, or mumble words to ourselves and start labeling that person? Then a Cadillac pulls up on the other side and a fine dressed couple gets out, do we not label them or assume they are successful, good looking people who are probably wealthy? This is the kind of partiality that James is talking about and just a small example of how we do it every day. James 2:5-9
5 Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love him?
6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts?
7 Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called?
8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well;
9 but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors.
Shall we not love? I believe James is using the rich and poor as an example, for it is one of the most common forms of practice of partiality, but we do it in many forms and variations. Brothers and sisters lets quit showing favoritism in our daily walk and lets show love, lets take to heart when scripture says, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” When you catch yourself starting to show partiality, lets do as Jesus did and show love and mercy. James 2:12-13
12 So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty.
13 For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
As James is saying, talk and act in a way that the law of love would want you too, for judging someone is to show no compassion, and compassion is always greater than judgment and partiality. Love always prevails, it never causes us wrongdoing and it grants us everlasting life. Love one another as Jesus Christ loves you.