Summary: If we see people the way God sees people: We won’t discriminate based on externals. Look at the marginalized with compassion. Treat others with the same mercy we desire
Genuine Faith sees people the way God does 2:1-13
“What we do is what we actually believe…everything else is just talk.
?If we see people the way God sees people:
1. We won’t discriminate based on externals. 2:1-4 ?
2. Look at the marginalized with compassion. 2:5-7
3. Treat others with the same mercy we desire 2: 8-13
In Charlottesville, Virginia last August, neo nazi groups exercised their right to free speech and lawful assembly by marching and yelling white supremacy and blatant anti-Semitic chants. (pic of nazi marchers). Virginia senator Tim Kaine said, “This is not who we are.” Well, newsflash—this IS who we are. Despite all our advances over the last 50 years, we are still a racially and ethnically polarized nation.? Jennifer Richeson, a Yale University social psychologist feels she has isolated the reason. “In some ways, it’s super simple. People learn to be whatever their society and culture teaches them. We often assume that it takes parents actively teaching their kids, for them to be racist. The truth is that unless parents actively teach kids not to be racists, they will be,” said. “This is not the product of some deep-seated, evil heart that is cultivated. It comes from the environment, the air all around us.”
Well, Ms. Richeson must have been smoking something when she gave this quote to the Washington Post. She speaks out of both sides of her mouth. Out of one side, she says that “Unless parents teach kids not to be racists, they will be.” I agree and I’ll explain why in a moment. Out of the other side she says, “This is not the product of some deep-seated, evil heart . . . . It comes from the environment, the air all around us.” Now THAT, my friends, is pixie fairy dust. Racism does NOT come from the air around us. That’s stupid. Racism actually does, despite what Ms. Richeson says, come from a deep seated, evil heart. It comes from a fallen heart. It comes from a depraved heart. It comes from an unregenerate heart. I agree that Parents must teach their children to rise above the cravings and prejudices of their fallen, depraved hearts. But to do that, parents themselves must rise above their prejudices as well. ? This is nothing new. And it’s not limited to our own country: every country on the planet has the same issues. But what is sad is that prejudice has crept in and taken root in the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Some of the most segregated places are houses of worship on Sunday morning. Prejudice was even prevalent in the early church; so much so that our author James felt like he needed to address it head on. ? Turn to James 2:1-13 as we continue this series, Connect the Dots. We named it this way because James the author, the half-brother of Jesus, the leader of the 1st Church of Jerusalem, has an uncanny way of connecting the dots between what we say we believe and how we should actually live. I remember in college listening to a speaker say, “What we do is what we actually believe…everything else is just talk.”If you really have been and are being transformed by the grace and gospel of Jesus Christ, it will show up in how you talk, how you spend, how you live…who you are.? Now here is the seminal, foundational truth for today: Christ-followers see people the way God does (build) Repeat. Listen, if you see people the way God sees people, it will melt away your prejudice and favoritism. ?If we see people the way God sees people:
1. We won’t discriminate based on externals. 2:1-4 (on screen)? James accuses us of giving preferential treatment to certain kinds of people: in this case those who are well dressed and quaffed; but it applies to any and every kind of prejudice. Don’t we give preferential treatment to people who look like us? To people who live like us? To people who act like us? Standing around the water cooler at work or sitting at home watching tv, don’t we find ourselves thinking less of someone who is different looking or different living or different acting? C’mon. Get honest. I can’t imagine there is a person here who is not guilty of judging people based on the externals: skin color, ethnicity, speech accent, aesthetics, or wealth.
James doesn’t hold back, does he? Look at v. 4 again: “Haven’t you made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?” He says, remember--under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, James says that to discriminate is sin; it comes out of evil perceptions brought by an evil heart and mind. ? We all do this, don’t we…and it is sad and it is wrong and it is sin. But the more we become like Jesus, the more we see people the way He sees them, the less we will make value judgments based on externals.