Seeing Christ in Everyone
“If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.”–James 2:8 – 9
When the United States of America first won independence from Britain, the rights of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness were only meant for rich, White men. For a while, this kind of favoritism was not met with backlash, but as the nation progressed, when fights started for equality for women, African Americans, and all other minority groups. Even in the 21st century, there is still favoritism in our nation and people are not treated as equally as God intended.
Favoritism is a SinIn the passage above, James points out why we are not to show favoritism. Quite often, we as humans treat those that are well-dressed and successful better than we do treat the homeless or the downtrodden. The reason we do this is because we feel that if we associate ourselves with those that are in successful circles, then we too will be exalted. Yet, God does not allow us to show favoritism. He considers it a sin and all sins are equal before God. By not treating each other equally, we are breaking the commandment of Christ to love one another as we love ourselves. In the story of Zacchaeus, many people following Jesus criticized Him for wanting to dine with a tax collector, but because Jesus loved Zacchaeus just as He loved everyone else, Zacchaeus and his household attained salvation.
Least of TheseThe truth is, God expects us to treat everyone equally. When the Prophet Samuel went to anoint one of Jesse’s sons as king, he looked for a man with a strong physical stature as well as keen intelligence. Yet, the Lord told Samuel, “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (I Samuel 16:7). Do we look into the hearts of people? Those that have high economic status are generally able to take care of their material needs, but those that are the last, least, and lost are not able to do that. They are the ones that need our help. Do we help them? When Jesus separates the sheep and the goats, He says to the sheep, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40). Will the King say those words to us? Let us pray that we do not exercise favoritism but extend help to all those who need our help. In doing so, Christ would be reflected through our actions.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves, and we seek Your forgiveness for showing favoritism. Empower us to love like You loved, so we can spread Your light to the last, least, and the lost. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Thought for the day: As light spreads to every corner of a room, so too should we spread Christ’s love everywhere we go.
Mat Stan Samuel, St. Paul’s M T C, Dallas.