Who IS your 'neighbor'?
"Anyone who is not me."
James talks about neighbors in this way:
If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.
Ah....favoritism. One of the most easily rationalize-able sins by Christians today. In context James is exhorting people to not show favoritism to the rich over the poor, but what would he exhort us to in our culture today? Where do our biases and subtle prejudices lie?
One answer that came up (again - at the men's Bible study) was 'celebrity', and I agree wholeheartedly. What would happen if a random, new person off the street walked into Rockland on a Sunday? What if Peyton Manning walked in? Would we see those two differently?
Take just a moment to whether or not you would see and treat the following people differently:
-Rich vs poor
-Good-looking vs plain-looking
-Famous vs not famous
-Your race vs someone of another race
-Republican/Conservative vs Liberal/Democrat vs Independent
-Christian vs Non-Christian
(NOTE: We certainly may engage with people differently. For example, I would be more straightforward and direct with a fellow believer who has wandered off God's path, and more tender with a non-believer who is doing the exact same thing.)
No one side of the equation is any more my neighbor than the other side, and therefore no one on the above list is exempt from being our 'neighbor'.
Favoritism comes wearing all sorts of new masks these days. I pray they are exposed in our own hearts so we can avoid them.
Everyone who is not me is my neighbor, and Jesus commands me to love my neighbor. I pray I do that well.
Scripture for this week's message
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