My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
How would you react if you were in the situation that James describes in today’s Bible passage? An obviously wealthy person and a homeless person both walk into the place where you are. It is your job to greet them and make them feel welcome. How will you do that? Will you view them both equally? Or will you value the wealthy person more than you value the homeless person? And will the subjective value you place on each person affect how you treat each of them?
None of us like to admit it, but we all are guilty of assigning value to people based on wholly external factors. We value those with wealth more than we value those without it. We prefer to be with people we believe will bring us some benefit rather than being with people who might need our help. It’s bad enough that we make these distinctions in our minds. But rarely does this favoritism remain hidden inside us. It’s very difficult for us to treat people equally when we don’t value them equally.
How thankful we can be that Jesus never showed favoritism! Jesus never valued one person more than he valued another. He loved (and loves) all people equally, and that includes each of us. In fact, Jesus loved and valued each of us so much that he willingly lived, suffered, and died for us all without distinction. As we see how Jesus loved and valued each of us equally, we are equipped to love and value others in the same way. And we will see that all people are equally valuable because Jesus loves them all.
Lord Jesus, help me always to love and value all people equally, just as you do. Amen.