WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
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TREAT EVERYONE EQUAL
(Let mercy triumph over judgment)
To show partiality to the rich discriminates against the poor, and, is evil (James 2:1-9). Yet publicly, it is, more often than not, the poor, whom we see swooning over, and showing their envy and worship for, the rich and famous. Here in James 2, the brother of JESUS tells us that it is the rich who oftentimes slander the name of, or show little or no reverence for, CHRIST JESUS (James 2:5-7).
GOD has chosen the “poor in spirit” to be “rich in faith”, not the “financially poor”. In other words, those who realize their need for JESUS, no matter how rich or poor they are in “the material sense”, will be given the kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 5:3). To be poor in spirit is “to humble one’s self before GOD”, and show a need for HIM, no matter how little, or how much wealth one may have accumulated in this life.
In James chapter 2, verses 1-13, the brother of JESUS issues a warning against, discrimination, prejudice, and even favoritism based on what a person may own. There is no special merit in being poor however, except that it is a proven fact that the poor are more likely to choose GOD, because of their more intense focus on their day to day needs. The wealthy tend to grow a dependence on their riches which covers their day to day needs and leaves them more time to focus on their wants. More often than not, riches can corrupt character in a person, which drives them to exploit the poor and despise the spiritual (James 2:6-7).
Warren W. Wiersbe once wrote, “The way we behave toward people indicates what we really believe about GOD”. Whether we realize it or not, we cannot separate “human relationships” from “divine fellowship”. If we say we love GOD and hate any human being, we are lying to ourselves about our love for GOD. If we can’t love our fellowman, whom we see every day, we can’t possibly love a GOD, WHOM we cannot see.
GOD’s law, which was presented to us by HIS servant Moses, is “a multi-faceted expression of HIS will”. Violating any aspect of GOD’s law makes us sinners. We have all violated GOD’s law at one time, or, the other, and, we all continue to do so, some perhaps on a daily basis. Violation of GOD’s law renders a person “a lawbreaker” no matter how petty we feel our violation may be. Even something as simple as “favoritism” is not considered “minor” in GOD’s sight. GOD considers it serious because it violates HIS command for us to “love one another the way HE HIMSELF loves us”, which is “unconditionally”.
GOD does not have a “favorite sin”, nor, does HE feel that one sin is lesser or greater than the other. If you blow up a balloon, and write on that balloon with a pen, every sin that you can think of, and then, stick a pen on any of those sins that you have written on the balloon, the whole balloon will burst. That is a picture of how GOD feels about sin. If a person commits any sin at all, he or she violates “the whole law of GOD” (Vs.10-11).
The same GOD WHO says, “Do not commit adultery”, or “Do not engage in homosexual behavior” also says, “Do not murder”, and “Do not steal”. If a person does either one, he or she has violated the whole law of GOD, and GOD is not pleased by their actions, one, any less, or any more, than the other.
We, as Christians, rich or poor, must all learn to walk in faith and put more emphasis on the “eternal things” that await us, than we do on the “temporal things” that we feel will make us happy now. We know that if our “earthly house”, that was built by the hands of man is lost, we still have an eternal house, that is built by the hands of GOD in Heaven, that can never, ever, be lost.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website