Welcome to DAY 8 of our online Bible study on James!
— Read: James 2:1-4 —
Years ago I had my one and only root canal. While 9 out of 10 of these procedures go really well, mine did not. The dentist and I had been in very close proximity for several hours when in a moment of frustration she said, “I just can’t find the end of this root.”
In James 2:1-4, the author is direct in his question, “My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others?” (NLT)
Different translations of this passage use different words including:
This admonition from James seems so simple — to interact with all people equally. And yet, the roots of discrimination can run deep and unseen.
Favoritism comes out when we value the able-bodied over the disabled, when we value one economic class above another, one ethnicity over another.
I’ve come to understand that, at least in my own life, discrimination is like that confounding root. I’ve spent my adult life working with nonprofits and international aid that aim to help the least of these. I’ve traveled to some of the poorest nations abroad and the poorest neighborhoods at home.
And yet, if I’m being honest, God has had to work at getting to the end of my own discrimination root, and I’m pretty sure we’re not finished. As one who spent my days raising money to feed the many hungry, I denied that one I passed on the street at night. It was easy to use my insider knowledge of poverty to justify my self-righteousness.
Much like my skilled dentist, God is faithful to keep working on that deep root until He reaches the end. But I have to do some work as well.
I have to admit that the pain of my discriminating mindset needs to be addressed. I have to sit patiently and willingly in close proximity while He reaches the end of that root.
James asks, “doesn’t this discrimination show that your judgments are guided by evil motives?”
My constant prayer is,
“May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart, be acceptable in your sight, O Lord.” (Psalm 19:14)
Let’s ask the Lord to show us where we are showing favoritism, and then let’s be willing to sit in close proximity to Him, as we walk through the heart transformation He so desires for us.
— Diving Deeper —
How is the Lord teaching you not to show favoritism?
Share in the comments!