Love and Impartiality
Bible Reading: James 2:1-13
Imagine this scene. You notice that a new visitor has just parked their shiny Cadillac in the church parking lot. A husband and wife both step out of the car. Well dressed and adorned with expensive jewelry, they appear to be quite well to do. The couple are warmly received at the front entrance, the greeters personally accompany them, and seat them where they prefer. Soon after, a beater of an old van arrives, belching smoke from its exhaust. And out of the van burst forth a single mom and five rambunctious children, attired in worn and wrinkled garments. Mom breaks up an argument between two of the boys and then manages to somehow corral the reluctant kids to the entrance. The greeter hands the mom a church bulletin and points to some seats in the back corner of the church. After the service the rich couple is warmly greeted by members of the church. The single mom, on the other hand, received no greeting and only disdainful looks. Having come to the church looking for some hope and answers, she left never to return again.
Do such things happen? Yes! Should they? Never!! I’m so glad for the impartiality of God with respect to His love. I think back to where I was and what I was doing when I first believed. I was so incredibly blessed by God’s love in the forgiveness I received! That God would save someone like me speaks to how truly amazing His grace truly is. And so it is for all of us. “Consider your calling,” wrote the Apostle Paul, “not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God (1 Corinthians 1:26-29).” God has so worked in salvation to remove every possible reason for human boasting. Any good in me is entirely by God’s doing and according to His grace!
James speaks of the “royal law.” “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (James 2:8), is the law of our King, and the highest of all His laws. Jesus, our King, showed no partiality. The One who was rich but became poor crossed all kinds of traditional barriers in dealing with people. In fact, the religious leaders chided Him for His propensity to hang out with sinners and tax-gatherers. He lovingly ministered to both Jews and non-Jews (and even Samaritans), rich and poor, men and women. Even societal outcasts, like the lepers and the demon-possessed, found a friend in Jesus.
In his Prison Fellowship newsletter, Chuck Colson wrote of a “pastor who was putting the final touches on his sermon early one Sunday morning when he heard a knock on his study door. There stood three ragged boys who had previously received gifts from members of the church. Their home was ravaged by drugs and prostitution. They had never been in a church before and wanted to look around. So the pastor gave them a quick “tour.” Fifteen minutes later they were back, asking what time the service started. “Can people come to your church if their socks don’t match?” asked the oldest. The pastor assured them they could. “What if they don’t have any socks?” Again, the pastor reassured them. “That’s good,” said the boy, “because my socks don’t match, and my little brother hasn’t any.” That morning those boys came to church and were warmly welcomed. Since then the church has helped the entire family.” Jesus showed no partiality. And if we are to love like Jesus then we need to do likewise. .
Jesus Showed No Partiality and Neither Should We
Lord Jesus! How amazing it is that You saved me! I was a rebel sinner, hostile in mind to You, and engaged in all kinds of evil. But You showed no partiality when You intervened in my life and saved me from my sins. Forgive us for our sinful tendency to measure people according to our own preconceived notions or their appearance. You desire all men to be saved. Knowing this, may we treat people according to the same kind of impartiality as You. People need You. Help us to see people through Your eyes and to relate to them with Your compassion–no matter who they are. In Your Name. Amen.