Showing Favoritism


James 2:1-4

My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ? For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in, and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, “Have a seat here, please,” while to the one who is poor you say, “Stand there,” or, “Sit at my feet,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?


Obviously James sees favoritism as a real problem because he finds it hard to believe that you can believe in Jesus and love some people more than others. The church was growing and developing and those who were a part of that community were drawn toward the “more pleasant” visitors, than others. The problem was that they were making distinctions between the people. This distinction was actually judgement, valuing some people over others. 

This judgement showed that they were not in Christ, but were allowing evil thoughts to harbor in their minds. A strong indictment, but James makes it abundantly clear that there can be no faith without action, and that included an outpouring of God’s love to all people. 

Jesus was accused of spending his time with the wrong people, but he showed no favoritism to those who were wealthy or held high office. Reflecting the glorious presence of our Lord Jesus Christ, partiality cannot be a behavior we embrace.


More than likely we all would nod in agreement, knowing in our heads that there is to be no partiality. Unfortunately, the temptation toward partiality hits us when we find ourselves in a crowded room with some people who appear to be more appealing than others. We just may work the crowd, making our way to those with whom we would enjoy making acquaintance, or with whom we would enjoy conversation. 

Even those who attend church may show favoritism. Some churches are known for being friendly, but not necessarily a place to really make friends. For many, their “friend” slots are all filled, and quite specifically, with those with whom we are the most comfortable. The person who may not look or act like us, stands on the margins and wonders whether anyone will ever accept them, or welcome them into a circle of friendship. 

Favoritism can be seen by those with whom you share your time. Do we willingly do as Jesus did, and reach out and spend time with those on the margins? He was accused of spending time with the “wrong” people. Not showing favoritism means that we will do the same thing. This is how we reflect Jesus, and how God is glorified, but it takes intentionality on our part. The temptation is to slide into what is easy, and show preference for those who make us more comfortable. 

Jesus didn’t show favoritism — because he loved even us! None of us are worthy of his great love and the salvation that he offers us. In gratitude for God’s impartial love,  we must love and accept others in return. 


Lord, I need to walk in your leading every day, being reminded of your gracious love to all. May I follow your love into relationship with others.  Amen. 


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