My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.

James 2: 1


We are born showing partiality, and there is much to commend about this fact. Babies are partial to their mothers from the moment of first breath. They rapidly learn to seek out and to favor the people who provide their primary care, too. As we develop we tend to be drawn to certain foods, colors, activities, and interests. These are among the things that define our individuality and that also gather people into groups of like-minded individuals so that various forms of community are formed. Again, there is nothing inherently wrong with any of this. Yet, there is partiality that causes separation and that leads us away from God’s desire for the way that humanity should function.


There is no doubt in my mind that God desires for people to live and to function in various forms of in-gathering that we reference as community. Some of these are civil in structure, others are governmental, and some are based in interests or for common good. Yet, the ones that God cares the most about are the ones that are organized around commonality of faith and the beliefs that come out of that faith. It is in this setting that we best learn to function in a manner that begins to imitate the way that God calls upon His people to live. Communities of faith, what we often call the church, are that human expression of Christ that operates within our various cultures. This is the organic place where we learn to grow in our knowledge and our understanding of Christ, and this is a platform from which He can be demonstrated to our world.


So, as Jesus was absolutely impartial in His treatment of people, we must also be impartial. This is true for followers of Christ individually, and it is even more so true for His church. Although there exists structures of authority and order within God’s plan and design for our earthly community, even those authority constructs should not establish superiority, power, or dominion over others. Although James spoke specifically about wealth and social status in this letter, the implication of the concept expressed is clearly much broader than that. In our world we can include such things as manner of dress, education, intellectual capacity and even the currently hot topics of sexual orientation and national origin or beliefs within the areas where people who follow Christ cannot discriminate. We must be open to caring about and for all who come our way. We cannot act out of partiality to any greater degree than did Jesus, Himself. God calls upon His church to be a place where love and grace pour out into a world where these are precious commodities that lead straight to the glory of the Lord.