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Good Wednesday morning to you all! Well, I tell you what, this study in James has really been a doosy so far! If you aren't even the slightest bit convicted by the words in James, you need a serious spiritual check-up! James is so blunt, and to the point! (In a good way of course!) But he leaves no room for excuses and loopholes here! It's black and white, and my toes have been stepped on for sure!
I consider myself to be a very compassionate, kind, and caring person...but I definitely show respect of persons, and James makes it clear, that it's a sin! :( I've been reading out of my Life Application Bible, and the foot notes are just wonderful! They really help you to apply the scriptures to your daily life, and understand them on a deeper level. If you've never looked at one, I would recommend you do. They print it in several translations...KJV, NKJV, NIV, and others! One thing I learned last week and wasn't able to post about for time reasons, was that respect of persons and favoritism is actually a selfish act. When you really think about it, what are your motivations for showing favoritism? Most instances of favoritism or respect of persons, is the rich vs the poor. There are others of course, but I think this is why James focuses so much on the rich/poor aspect. This is out of my footnotes....
"To have "respect of persons" means to show favoritism to some people over others. Often we treat a well-dressed, impressive looking person better than someone who looks poor. We do this because we would rather identify with successful people than with apparent failures. The irony, as James reminds us, is that the supposed winners may have gained their impressive lifestyle at our expense. In addition, the rich find it hard to identify with the Lord Jesus who came as a humble servant. Are you easily impressed by status, wealth, or fame? Are you partial to the "haves" while ignoring the "have nots"? This attitude is sin. God views all people as equals......
......By honoring someone just because he dresses well, we are making his appearance more important than his character. We sometimes do this because (1) poverty makes us uncomfortable; we don't want to face our responsibilities to those who have less than we do; (2) we too want to be wealthy, and we hope to use the rich person as a means to that end; (3) we want the rich person to join our church and help support it financially. All these motives are selfish; they view neither the rich nor the poor person as a human being in need of fellowship. If we say Christ is Lord of our lives, then we must live as he requires, showing no favoritism and loving all people regardless of their circumstances."
What about you? Do you have times of favoritism? Are there people you treat better than others for any reason? Family members that get better treatment than other family members? Co-workers that you favor over other co-workers? Sometimes just our personalities clash, and therefore we treat people less than desirably. The thing is, those you shun see your actions, and feel the hurt you cause them. If you claim to be a Christian, and treat people this way, they will NOT see the love of Christ in you. All favoritism stems from selfishness on our part. This has been so convicting for me, and I pray God will help me to overcome my respect of persons. Won't you join me in this prayer today?
God, help me to see people like you see them. Help me to look past the appearance, move past the personalities, and gaze upon the heart. Help me to remember that you created all men, and you created them equally in your sight. Help me to LOVE like you LOVE! Help me to not focus on myself, and my wants and needs, but on You, and on others! Please guard my heart, and may your Spirit speak to me loudly, that I might not sin against you, and cause hurt to others. I want to set the standards of this world aside, and remember that the true goal of this life, is entering your kingdom, and bringing as many with us as possible! In Jesus name I pray, Amen!