You do well when you complete the Royal Rule of the Scriptures: “Love others as you love yourself.” But if you play up to these so-called important people, you go against the Rule and stand convicted by it. You can’t pick and choose in these things, specializing in keeping one or two things in God’s law and ignoring others. The same God who said, “Don’t commit adultery,” also said, “Don’t murder.” If you don’t commit adultery but go ahead and murder, do you think your non-adultery will cancel out your murder? No, you’re a murderer, period.
When James wrote to the churches, they were struggling with treating rich and poor people differently. Not only were outsiders typically part of a very different religion, they often had lifestyles or practices that were flat out offensive to the people in the early church.
One of the most base parts of our existence is sorting and grouping people, right? In school, we knew who we could play with and not lose, and those that would be kind, and those that were children of our parents so we’d see them at church. Groups happen naturally in a lot of ways, but that doesn’t mean that they are good groupings or that we have to abide by them.
Talk to any person that has been brave and gone on a mission trip and they’ll tell you how rich their life has become by breaking out of the groups that they were a part of and entering someone else’s. Even as you work at a place or walk around your neighborhood, there are groups that would be richer if you joined them. There are groups that you are a part of that would be better if they had some variety brought into them too.
James’ conflict is still going on today between all sorts of various groups. If we find ourselves staying away or treating someone differently, let’s reduce those differences down to the truth he states and the truth he infers.
- We are all lawbreakers in need of saving
- Everyone that breathes is somebody that God loves
We can’t pick and choose which laws we separate over and which laws we join together over. As we are the people of God, we carry out His wishes and His role in advancing the Kingdom. You can look through the life of Jesus and limit yourself to only befriend those kinds of people that Jesus befriended. If you read it all in context, you’ll see that it’s a pretty diverse and large group of people. You’ll also see that it’s a lot of the people you wouldn’t expect to see at Sunday School before church.
Enjoy and take in the grace you have received. The mercy of the kingdom is a very wide door, and Jesus is cheering for you to hold it open.