I was going to do all of James 2 but, my passion got me on a soapbox and I stayed there for a while.
It is natural to have biases. We are born into families and cultures and as we grow up we learn from our families, our cultures, and our society to be biased in some way or another. But we do not have to keep those biases. We have to become aware of them, we have to repent of them along with our other sins and take on the Spirit of God who has no partialities. (Deuteronomy 10:17). Prejudice is not Christ-like. It opposes the Love of Jesus Christ to hate a person or to judge a person on appearances. There is nothing loving about prejudice. Do you want someone to make demeaning comments about you, your race, your religion, or your culture? Of course not! Love your neighbor as yourself means not hurting someone because you wouldn’t want to be hurt.
Before you declare you have no prejudices, carefully consider that everyone has biases. It’s natural. But it is supernatural not to have biases. We are not perfect, Jesus is. We strive to be like Him. In that pursuit we follow His great commandment, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12). He loves everyone, perfectly and without partiality. We have to make an effort to be that loving. James described it this way in verses 1-7,
“My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. 2 For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, 3 and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,”4 have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? 7 Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?”
When we entertain any sort of partiality, racism, preference, or even those little jokes or comments you think everyone appreciates, you are blaspheming Jesus Christ. He said, love and there is no love in hurting someone. I can tell you, those little jokes made, those kidding words that slur my culture, hurt me. Those gests made to insult another culture hurt me. Aren’t we brothers and sisters? Aren’t we created by God in His image? (Genesis 1:27). When you insult any person, you insult his Creator, my Savior.
The entire law is covered by two commandments, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”(Matthew:34-40). People who choose not to follow Christ still say they follow the second commandment, but they do it selfishly, half-heartedly, and they decide who their neighbor is. They leave the first commandment out of their scope entirely. Go ahead and ask a person who is not a Christian about the golden rule, they will probably tell you love your neighbor but they won’t know anything about love the Lord. They’re trying to be good without Jesus. That is not possible. We can’t be perfect but we can try. We should try to be like Jesus. Verses 8-12 read,
“If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. 9 But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. 11 For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. 13 For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.”
We call Jesus, Lord and He calls us by His name. We do not try to keep the law, we try to be like Jesus. Jesus is merciful and so we should be too. It isn’t merciful to hate someone based on the color of their skin, the place they were born, or the amount of money in their bank account.
Nobody thinks they’re racist. Nobody believes they are prejudiced. Nobody thinks they’re the ones with the problem. Right? You know why that group of people is bad. Right? Everyone knows Jewish people are cheap and greedy! Everyone knows Muslims are terrorists! Everyone knows Asians are anal. You’re not alone in thinking that. So, that doesn’t make you racist does it? You have a reason to be so hateful. Ad really telling that joke isn’t hateful. If someone was hurt, well they’re just too sensitive.
Ask yourself some questions, it is okay to answer them honestly. God knows your heart and He is merciful and loving. You need to be honest so you will find out where you lack mercy and love so that you can repent and be more like Jesus.