Journeying through James – Looking at the Heart

My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. 2 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. 3 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,” 4 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 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? James 2:1‑5 (NIV)

It’s very difficult for us to see people differently than how they might obviously appear to us. We have well-known adages like, “Beauty is only skin deep,” to remind us of that. Discrimination is a human problem that needs the forgiveness of Christ and the power of God’s Holy Spirit to make us think differently. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2, NIV).

There are many reasons why someone is poor and even if it were their fault, who are we to judge. “The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7, NIV). The challenge is to not let how we see people cloud how the the Lord see them. Serving others and loving people, as God does, can be very different than what people and your culture might say.