James 2:1-13 is about the sublect of showing personal favoritism. It´s very easy for us all to judge based on appearance or by the way someone acts but Christ tells us not to make distinctions among ourselves. In this section we will be instructed on how we are supposed to live and deal with those whom we would like to judge.
(v1) NO PERSONAL FAVORITES: Here the verse is very straight forward and also introduces the subject. In your faith, don´t hold an attitude of personal favoritism. This is actually the word for respect of persons, partiality, or recognizing of faces. One example: There´s a judge who has a good friend named Jack. One day Jack commits murder and has to stand before his friend the judge. The judge is expected not to recognize his face, or in other words, judge according to the friendship that he has had with the man. Likewise we are not to act out of the recognizing of faces.
(vv2-3) EXAMPLE OF PARTIALITY: Here we see a poor man and a rich man who are in the assembly or synogogue. The rich man is given the better seat and the poor man is neglected. Obviously the person here has deduced that the rich man is better and therefore deserves the better seat. Ok, this example is very specific but let´s look at the heart issue. Have we ever seen someone who looks, talks, or acts funny and because of that we´ve neglected to treat them correctly. And instead of talking to them we talk to the person who appears to be normal. The heart issue is judging someone based on outward appearance and then acting or treating them in a wrong way.
(v4) RECOGNIZE WHAT YOU´RE DOING: You have made Distinctions: (Diakrino) to separate, discriminate, prefer, withdraw from one, to oppose. And you are now a judge with evil motives.
(vv5-7) GOD´S PERSPECTIVE: The person that you´re discriminating against just might be the person that God has chosen to be rich in the faith. And the person that you show preference to just might be the one who blasphemes your name.
(v8) EXAMPLE TO FOLLOW: If we love our neighbor as we love ourself then we will be doing fine. (See Luke 10:25-37)
(vv9-11) RECOGNIZE THE SERIOUSNESS: Not much to say here except that if we think this issue is petty, we´re wrong. Partiality is sin and if we commit partiality we are considered to be sinners.
(v12) BE CAREFUL: Now that we realize how serious this issue is, we should be careful as to how we live. We should speak and act in accordance to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The love that He has showed us should compel us to love as He did.
(v13) JUDGMENT OF GOD: If we do not show mercy we should fear the judgment of God. Because, ¨...judgment will be merciless for the one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.¨ But what exactly is mercy? Mercy is kindness or goodwill towards the miserable and afflicted, mercy is holding back a bad thing that someone might deserve, mercy is what Christ did for us. We deserve Hell but Christ showed mercy towards us so that we could live with Him in Heaven.
CONCLUSION: This week let us show mercy and love towards those less fortunant. Those who look, smell, and act funny. This is what Jesus has called us to.