Read: James 2
If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbour as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favouritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. (James 2:8-9)
James presents a contrast between love and favouritism. Favouritism, as James explains in verses 2-4, is essentially discrimination – when one person is treated better and another worse, based upon a judgement of their status in society as a representation of their inherent worth. Love, however, is shown when the other person is treated the way the self wants to be treated; for the benefit of the other, even as all people (even if their emotions are so twisted that they despise themselves) seek to serve themselves and meet their own desires and needs.
So this is a very high standard that James commands of Christians. Like Jesus, James tells us we must love the other, the different. Whether our ‘neighbour’ (any person we meet) is of a different cultural or socioeconomic background; or of a different gender or practicing a different mode of sexual expression; or lives in a different family structure; or holds to a different political persuasion: regardless of our differences, Christians are to love others.
Neither are Christians to show partiality or preference for those more similar, or those whose attributes are more highly esteemed. Again, this is hard.
But Christians know all people were created equally in the image of our God. And we know that all people suffer in some way the effects of sin, so the image of God is marred in them. We know that God desires all people everywhere to come to repentance and saving faith in Jesus Christ. So as Christians, we must love all with God’s love.
Christians must show unbiased love rather than favouritism.
LORD God Almighty,
I know you want me to love others and not show preference. This is very hard to do. Please help me.
Please help me to treasure other people as your image-bearers. Help me to have mercy on others for the way your image is marred. Keep me from egotistically thinking that your image is somehow less marred in me or in those I think are more like me.
Please help me to show the image of your Son in my life, in my everyday ordinary.