How to treat people right?
Your biggest problems and mine are people problems -- getting along with other people. " James talks about "How do you get along with people? He gives us the principle, the problem, and the application in this passage.
1) Don’t show favoritism
James 2:1 "My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don't show favoritism."
James is talking about prejudice, partiality, favoritism. He says never treat anybody in a different way according to their outward appearance.
In order to deal with favoritism, we need to look at some common areas of discrimination.
1) Appearance - We discriminate often because of appearance. Beauty is everything in our world. If you're a cute kid you've got it made. If you're plain, tough luck!
2) Ancestry - We judge people according to their race, their nationality, their ethnic background.
3) Age - You're too young or too old.
4) Achievement - Our society gushes over winners and forgets the losers. One minute you're a hero and the next minute you're a zero. Success and status are keywords.
5) Affluence - the most common distinction. We judge people by their wealth -- whether they're rich or poor -- their economic status.
This is the area that James picks out of all the areas we can discriminate in. He talks about economic distinction. James 2:2 "Suppose a man comes to your meeting wearing gold rings and fine clothes and a poor man in shabby 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 over there' or `Sit on the floor at my feet', have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?"
James says there are two problems with favoritism.
1. Favoritism is unchristian. If you want to be like Jesus you can't play favorites. "My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don't show favoritism." Faith and favoritism are incompatible -- we're a family. “God does not play favorites.” Romans 2:11. Jesus treated everybody with dignity.
2. Favoritism is unloving. That's why you shouldn't do it. "If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, `Love your neighbor as yourself.' you're doing right." Why is it called the royal law? Because if we obeyed that one we wouldn't need all of the rest. "Love your neighbor as yourself." Galatians 5:14 "All the law is summed up in one sentence, `Love your neighbor as yourself'." If I play favorites I'm being unloving.
HOW TO TREAT PEOPLE RIGHT
1. Accept everybody. "Accept one another just as Christ accepted you." Romans 15:7. That's a start -- acceptance. You don’t have to approve people’s behaviour but you can accept them just as they are. That’s how Christ accepted you. Just as you are.
2. Appreciate everybody. This goes a little bit further than acceptance. Philippians 2:35 "Do nothing from selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourself. Each of you should look not only to your own interest but also the interest of others." Appreciate everybody. Find something you can like, not just accept. Tell them so.
3. Affirm everybody. Thess. 5:11 "Encourage one another and build each other up." When people stumble, don't criticize, sympathize. Be an encourager not a complainer, not a condemner, a critical person, not a judger. You can encourage people just by smiling at them.
What is God saying in James? The church that accepts, appreciates and affirms people is the church that God blesses. Absolutely nothing can stop the church that's filled with love.