Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Discrimination (James 3) (James 2:1-13, Matt 5:3, Proverbs 30:7-9)

"Red and yellow, black and white we are precious in His sight"
© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.

I read this part of James and thought, "Why me?"  I don't want to even think about discrimination.  The word makes me cringe.  It's been a weapon for so long in America.  People are afraid to call a terrorist a terrorist because it might be discrimination.  It was awesome to hear that people from a Muslim Mosque reported suspected terrorists to Canada : )  We should all be so alert, in our Churches too.  My husband is a Therapist in a Nursing Home.  He works with co-workers of all sorts of nationalities.  I took the photo above for an event his group was having.  

God loves variety.  You can tell from all the different animals, flowers, colors, landscapes, and people.  Even the weather is always changing.  I love His creativity.  He must've given me a bit of His creativity.  I am always busy at something.  It'll be awesome to see His work in the Heavens.  

These verses in James, refer to showing preference to rich people who come to Church.  I've actually seen this in some of our Churches today.  The one who donates the most gets to say what's what.  Interesting isn't it?  This is like medicine, hard to swallow but really good for us (me) to consider.

James 2:1-13

1 My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. 2 For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, 3 and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, "You sit here in a good place," and say to the poor man, "You stand there," or, "Sit here at my footstool," 4 have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?
James went so far as to say by discriminating we are actually judging people.  It's evil to consider a poor person of less value than a rich one.  This applies to a person's gender and race as well.  Sometimes it seems we get so caught up in the word "rich", we forget the meaning.  There was a time when it wasn't uncommon to hear someone say, "You sit on the floor;  the rich people get the pews."  

We sometimes feel if we associate with what we think is cool, we will be like that.  But really it's just pretending and wrong.  We don't often think about how the rich get rich, just that it would be nice not to be poor.  They usually make their income more important than anyone or anything else.  Many wealthy people have worked very hard and saved money.  But, if you're not bringing in enough money, you're just not of value.  As always there's exceptions.  Some give lots to help others and do good things.  Others get inheritances.

5 Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts? 7 Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called?
Reading this is surprising to me today.  I've known this all along but guess it never registered.  When I was a little girl my Dad was talking about different people's value.  "This man is worth millions and that one is a billionaire."

I got so excited I asked my Dad, "Daddy what am I worth?"
He got silent.  Then he said, "You're worth more than money.  There's no dollar value on you."

I believed it.  Even after working in high paying jobs, I realized I was worth more than all the problems offices bring.  Hard to enjoy your income, if you put in 13 hour days.  I've heard of a lot of people moving on to other careers.

8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you do well; 9 but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. 11 For He who said, "Do not commit adultery," also said, "Do not murder." Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. 13 For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. 

God is so amazing : )  He doesn't see us as dollar value or net worth.  Those who are poor or struggling financially are the ones who need faith the most.  They are the ones most likely to pray from the bottom of their hearts.  Often they are the ones with the most compassion because they know how it feels.  If it weren't for my hard times, I wouldn't have ever become a Christian at all.  Like it says in verse 5 "God chose the poor of this world to be rich in faith."  

He provides our needs.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.  Matthew 5:3
Check out Agur's prayer from Proverbs:

Two things I request of You
(Deprive me not before I die):
Remove falsehood and lies far from me;
Give me neither poverty nor riches-
Feed me with the food allotted to me;
Lest I be full and deny You,
and say, "Who is the Lord?"
Or lest I be poor and steal,
And profane the name of my God. 
Proverbs 30:7-9


  1. Hi Karen,
    I agree with what you say here. There is no place for discrimination in the church, but unfortunately it happens way too often. I recently heard on some Christian radio program where they talked about Gandhi's experience in the church. They were saying that he had started reading the bible and decided to attend a church because he wanted to learn more about salvation, he was interested in coming to the Lord. The ushers in the church refused to give him a seat and told him that he should go to church elsewhere. Gandhi said, "if Christianity also has a caste system, I might as well remain a Hindu." This is so sad.
    Thank you for sharing this important post and have a blessed weekend.

  2. Thanks for your comment Ken. Wow! That is so sad that Gandhi was turned away. We can sure mess things up. In all aspects we need to quit with the judging and do what's right. Thanks for sharing this. This was one of my harder posts. I really appreciate it.

    God Bless!

  3. Hi Karen,

    I know about discrimination and I am sad that, like so many other sins, it is found inside the church...but these passages clearly show that this has always been the case.
    It is the LOVE of money...not money that is the root of all sin...so it is all about attitude. I think it is all about fear...rich people fear poverty so much that they do not like reminders of it nearby them.
    If they only experienced how Jesus can give them contentment no matter their state (or station) in life, then they would not be so afraid.
    Like paul said while imprisoned:
    "I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength." (Phil.4)

    That proverb (30) is one of my favorites too!
    ~God bless~ Lisa

  4. Thanks Lisa- what a great comment! The verses from Philippians are perfect. It's all about trusting in the Lord and not allowing our peace to be carried off in worry isn't it? It's not the money you are right, it's loving money more than others.

    God bless! Karen