Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Sin of Playing Favorites

In light of the Cross, how should we be treating each other?
My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. ~James 2:1

I've been doing a lot of thinking about Pastor’s message from this last Sunday and after considering the example James gives about showing favoritism to the rich man over the poor man, I can see how easy it is for me to commit this particular sin. I’m not talking about actively giving better treatment to someone who is rich over someone who is poor, but seeking out and fellowshipping only with those who are most like me or with those whom I have the most in common. It is all too easy to establish relationships with only those whom we find some easy connection to. Scripture points out, as Christians, we are not at liberty to ignore or exclude anyone in the Body of Christ.

have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? ~James 2:4

I know I have been guilty of ignoring certain people because I either don’t really know them or because I have not been able to easily “connect” with them, so according to James I have become a judge with evil thoughts. He later points out this type of behavior is sin.

But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.  ~James 2:9

James doesn't pull any punches and says if anyone makes any sort of a distinction between Christians and treats them differently because of that distinction it is sin. The idea of that doesn't sit easy with me and by God’s forgiveness and strength I will do differently. Pastor gave us some meat to chew on when he asked us to consider what our partiality violates, there were five points he brought up; our partiality violates:
  1. The character of God 
  2. The Law of God 
  3. The Son of God 
  4. The grace of God 
  5. The warning of God 
As Christians we should be immensely concerned if anyone points out how we may have violated any one of these things by our behavior. As I did some more reading and studying about the sort of relationship I should be having with other Christians, I noticed how the Bible talks a great deal about how I relate to other Christians goes well beyond just getting along. It says something about who God is and should display the relationship between the Father and the Son. Jesus, in His prayer for the disciples and for those who would believe later (us), points out we are to be unified and related in such a way as He is with the Father...

“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” ~John 17:20,21

In fact, the love we have for one another is an indicator of our relationship to Christ and declares to the world we are His disciples...

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” ~John 13:34,35

It is God’s intent that there be a significant and life altering relationship between those who make up the Body of Christ! When we are saved we become a new person and each new person saved is to make up a new humanity displaying the love and relationship between the persons of the Holy Trinity. This new humanity, of which we at Lakeside are a part of, is the beginning of the fulfillment of God’s ultimate purpose and plan for all creation. Some people would say this is huge.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. ~Ephesians 1:7-10

United in Christ... so how we treat one another, or how we mistreat and ignore one another says something about who we are as Christians or who we are not. The unity and relationship we are displaying in the here and now should be a clear representation of the unity and relationship we will have later... like this...

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” ~Revelation 7:9,10

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