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Preferential Treatment

Discussion in 'Bible Study' started by SueJLove, May 31, 2014.

  1. Friday, May 30, 2014, 8:57 a.m. – the Lord Jesus put the song in mind, “In Faithfulness He Leads Me.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read James 2:1-13 (NIV).

    No Favoritism

    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?

    Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?

    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. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.

    Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

    When you think of someone showing favoritism, what comes to your mind? Favoritism – “the unfair practice of treating some people better than others; the showing of partiality” (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/favoritism). It doesn’t have to necessarily be a rich/poor thing. Any time we give preferential treatment to one person or to one people group over another, in a manner not consistent with the word of truth, while showing discrimination towards the other group, whether the less fortunate, or not, we are guilty of sinning. We should be completely consistent in all that we do, and not be hypocritical.

    For instance, if I have a house rule, and if I enforce that house rule consistently, but then someone comes into my house to whom I wish to make a good impression, or to whom I would choose not to offend them, because I want them to like me, and so I excuse them or make allowances for them, then I am guilty of showing favoritism. Or, if I am in the practice of doing something regularly in my relationships with others, but there is someone I want to treat in a different way, because I want that person’s acceptance or approval or friendship or whatever, and so I alter my normal practices in order to please just that one person while I still treat others in the same manner as usual, then I am guilty of showing favoritism and discrimination, and thus I am sinning. As well, I should never give in to the pressure to treat one group of people better than others or to alter my normal practices just out of consideration of one particular people group while still treating others just the same.

    When we give in to showing favoritism to one person over another, or to one people group over another, we dishonor the group of people who we end up treating as less. In this case spoken of in this passage of scripture there was an additional charge, though. The people they were potentially treating as less were those who were the poor (humble; deprived; lowly) in the eyes of the world, i.e. they were already the despised and the rejected. Yet, the people to whom they may have been showing favoritism were actually those who were exploiting the lowly, humble and/or deprived. Exploit – “to make use of meanly or unfairly for one's own advantage; to make use of that which helps you unfairly” (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exploit); to abuse; misuse; take advantage of someone; and/or to manipulate. So, they were possibly mistreating the already ill-treated, and they were exalting and supporting those who were guilty of taking advantage of others via manipulation, deception and/or harsh treatment. Wow! What an indictment!

    Practical Examples

    A Biblical example of this immediately comes to mind. Peter had been called of God to minister to the non-Jews of that time. Jesus spoke to Peter in a vision three times to help Peter to realize that he was not to treat Gentiles as though they were less than Jews. So, Peter obeyed God and went to the Gentiles and spoke God’s words to them, and many came to faith in Jesus Christ. But, then some of the Jewish leaders possibly leaned on Peter about his associations with the Gentile Christians, or else Peter just feared their possible rebuke against him because of these associations, and so Peter withdrew from fellowship with the Gentile believers in order to gain acceptance from the Jewish leaders. These leaders were, in fact, guilty of harsh treatment toward the Gentile believers by trying to force them to be circumcised and to keep certain laws as an additional requirement for their salvation.

    A practical example of how this is being played out in today’s church is that many who have come to faith in Jesus Christ, being set free from man-made religion to follow Christ, have gone back to following the teachings and philosophies of human beings in place of following the truth of God’s word, and they do so often under the influence of church leaders who are convincing them that is the right way to go. Many of these church leaders, though, are just like the Judaizers of Paul’s day, for they try to force everyone who comes into their fellowship to follow their customs, i.e. their man-made visions and teachings. This “forcing” is often accomplished through lies, deception, manipulation and guilt trips. As well, many of these leaders are being taught to willfully “filter out” those who hold to the true gospel of salvation and to the truths of God’s word, and they try to convince others to do the same.

    So, if we, the body of Christ, reject the truth of the gospel in favor of following these leaders and their man-made religion, and we join them in their hypocrisy, and we join with them in filtering out and/or rejecting those who have chosen not to follow this man-made path, and we join with them in their harsh treatment of those who follow the true gospel, and who hold to the truths of God’s word, such as Peter was guilty of doing, then we are guilty of showing favoritism and of discrimination, and thus we are guilty of sinning, too.

    Yet, God is faithful. He will comfort the comfortless. He will minister to the oppressed and those afflicted by those who would despise them and who would reject them because they stand for what is truth and they choose not to bow to the gods of men. We must continue to walk in the ways of the Lord, to follow him wherever he leads us, to open eyes that are blind, and to free the captives, even if it gets us mistreated and/or hated and rejected in return. We must continue to show God’s love to his people by telling them the truth – to expose these false leaders of the people who would lead them away from the truths of God’s word to follow the mission and visions of human beings, and by continuing to teach what is truth, in accordance with God’s holy word. And, we must trust our lives and our future into God’s ever capable hands, believing that he has a plan and a purpose for it all and that he will accomplish his purposes in all of our lives through these trying times.

    To God be all the glory, honor and praise! Great things He has done, and is doing, and will continue to do on the behalf of ALL his children. Amen!

    In Faithfulness He Leads Me / An Original Work / March 20, 2013

    Based off Various Scriptures
    (Ps. 26:3; 86:11; 91:4-5; 111:7-8; 119:73-76;
    Is. 25:1,4&9; 42:6-7; Hos. 2:16-20)

    Teach me Your ways, Lord, and I’ll walk in them.
    Give me a pure heart. I’ll fear Your name.
    Your love is always, ever before me.
    Continually I’ll walk in Your truth.
    You will cover me with feathers.
    Under Your wings I’ll find refuge.
    My Lord’s faithfulness will be my
    Comfort and my shield.
    The works of His hands are faithful and just.
    Trustworthy are all of His precepts.


    Your hands have made me, and they have formed me.
    Give understanding of Your commands.
    I have put my hope, O Lord, in Your word.
    Your teachings, O Lord, are righteousness.
    Lord, in faithfulness You have
    Afflicted me so I may learn of
    Your unfailing love and comfort
    And Your truthfulness.
    You are my husband; You have betrothed me
    In love, compassion and faithfulness.


    O Lord, You are my God, I’ll exalt You.
    In faithfulness You’ve done wondrous things.
    You’ve been a refuge for those who’re needy;
    A shelter in storms; shade from the heat.
    This is the Lord, we trusted in Him,
    Let us be glad and rejoice
    In His salvation which He
    Provided through the Lamb.
    Open the blind eyes; free all the captives.
    Tell them of Jesus: “Be born again!”


    http://originalworks.info/in-faithfulness-he-leads-me/
     

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