I have absolutely loved our study through the book of James. There is so much to be gleaned from looking at this book in depth. James is a great book to help us get along with each other and see how the church should function as a body. It’s got so many practical, “101” type instructions to help us live like Jesus. This book, in church history, was not so widely accepted. Martin Luther called James “a right strawy epistle”. Meaning it had little value to him because he felt so strongly about salvation by faith alone. Just like any teaching it’s possible to go to extremes on either side of the issue. I believe there is a balance to what James addresses. Take some time to study and meditate on what James is telling us. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal how to live out James. Today I’d like to look at one specific issue covered in James 2:1-13; favoritism.
What is favoritism? I kinda see it as being picked last in gym class. In the early church, the leaders were favoring people based off their outward appearance and social status. He says this type of favoritism is wrong and puts them in the position of “judges with evil thoughts.”
Have you ever been pulled over? I have a confession to make. I was recently pulled over because I had a tail light out. I had no idea but was kind and cooperative with the officer. Now if I had become arrogant and belligerent, I wouldn’t have just been given a warning. In fact, depending on how much I fought would have determined the degree of my punishment. I may have had to stand before a judge. Maybe Judge Judy! Isn’t it interesting that when we judge others we put ourselves in the position of judge. The highest authority figure in the judicial system, a position reserved for God alone. Only God sees the heart of man, we simply look at the outward (see 1 Samuel 16:7). Our response should be of mercy. As James 2:13 says, “Mercy triumphs over judgement.”
- Judgment asks what can I get.
Mercy asks what can I give.
- Judgment says I’ll never forgive you for what you did.
Mercy says I’m forgiven so I must forgive.
- Judgment favors based on outward appearance.
Mercy seeks the heart.
- Judgment looks through men's eyes.
Mercy looks through the eye’s of God.
- Judgment says what can they do for me.
Mercy says what can I do for them.
Mercy triumphs over Judgment.
Let's be a people of mercy.
Pastor Justin Werven
Beulah Campus Pastor
New Life Worship Center