Favoritism, partiality … what’s the motive? It seems instinctive for the natural man, something we all need to watch out for. It’s so easy to be initially attracted to someone that is similar to our own social status rather than one that appears to be “in a bracket below us.” It’s far too easy to judge others based on a worldly view of externals and circumstances. James tells us what our reference point needs to be (James 2:5) when he tells us that the poor among us could be “rich in faith” and “heirs of the kingdom.” When we don’t hold onto this attitude we dishonor our brethren. We need to remember at all times that we are called to “Love our neighbor as ourself.”
This is difficult for most of us when we consider the poor, the homeless, etc. How do we discern between the ones that need assistance and those that are deceiving and manipulating? If we desire to “help” others in need, exactly how do we go about it? Two important points surfaced during our discussion: 1) We need to be careful to define and understand what is “help,” and 2) We don’t want to be taken advantage of, conned, or swindled.
Regarding help, first and foremost there needs to be interaction. We we might think that we know what the individual needs and how to help, but we could be totally wrong. We must not assume. We need to communicate, to ask how we can help and listen carefully.
Fear of being taken advantage of is difficult. It will likely happen sometimes to different degrees. There are people that really good at discerning or reading individuals that we can talk to for advice. We will follow up on that.
Finally, James 2:10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. A key point in to others to understand why we all need a savior. No matter how good of a person we may think we are, we all have transgressed the law at some point.
Next week: James 2:14-26