7th October 2018

Avoiding Partiality 

“Listen, my dear brothers: 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 2:5 (NIV UK)

Recent studies claim that most parents actually have a favourite child. My wife Susan and I have three adult sons, and we have intentionally loved them as equally as humanly possible. When the boys were young, we made a habit of asking them who they thought was mum or dad’s favourite. It was cute to hear them shout out “Glenn-Garrett-Gatlin” as if it were one word.

I am curious about how the brothers and sisters of Jesus felt considering the affections of Joseph and Mary. Knowing Jesus was the Saviour of humanity, it would make sense that there may have been at least an appearance of favouritism. We don’t know, as we only have record of one sibling, James, who wrote a letter we call the book of James. James was known for, and set an example of, humility. There is no record of him ever using his position as Jesus’ blood relative as a basis for his authority. Rather, he described himself as a “servant” of Jesus, and nothing more. As a humble and gracious leader, James was a blessing to the church in the first century and remains a blessing to us in the twenty-first.

In the second chapter of his book, James shows us what a life conformed to God’s law of love looks like. He begins with a negative example: “My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favouritism” (James 2:1). Though James is including all kinds of favouritism, he is focusing on the issue of wealth. Even inside the church, the ‘haves’ were being shown favour, while the ‘have-nots’ were cast aside. James was making it clear that favouritism is incompatible with those who put their trust in Jesus Christ. Notice what James is emphasizing. Abiding in God’s will (in this case avoiding favouritism) is not about the perfection of our faith, but the perfection of the object of our faith—Jesus. Jesus is the one who loves all people equally—with him there is no favouritism. Therefore, believers—or followers—join him in loving all people equally.

James gets even stronger. To show favouritism, he warns, is to stand in judgment of others. Notice verses 8-9: “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). Loving your neighbour as yourself leaves no room for favouritism. James is telling us to trust wholly in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, and view others the way he does. Join him in loving all people without favouritism. 

Merciful Father, thank you for your unfailing mercy towards us. As a consequence, help us to show mercy and love towards others in our daily lives. This we ask in Jesus’ name.

Study by Greg Williams


About the Author:
Greg Williams is Vice President of Grace Communion International (the Denominational name of The Worldwide Church of God UK), and resides in North Carolina, USA.

Local Congregation:
You are welcome to attend one of our local Church congregations located throughout the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.gracecom.church under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.

Email: admin@daybyday.org.uk

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Print This Article


Got something to say?