8.25.19 - The Partiality Problem (Kenny Camacho)
SCRIPTURE: James 2:1-13; 5:1-6
By any measure, Americans are among the wealthiest people on Earth. Although that might seem like a good thing, the Bible pulls no punches when it comes to warning the rich about the many pitfalls their prosperity can lead them into. One of the ways we can avoid these dangers is by refusing to allow what James refers to as partiality to distort how we see the world. For James, partiality is what happens when privilege combines with arrogance, and it leads us down a road of judgment, discrimination, and self-satisfaction. These things ruin the tests and trials of our lives by keeping us from learning how we need to change in order to live more like God intends. To resist partiality, we need to be vigilant in making sure that we see other people as God sees them instead of how our culture sees them. We must be marked by humility and generosity, remembering that “mercy triumphs over judgment.”
James 2:1-4 describe a scenario where church leaders have show preference to wealthy Christians in their weekly gatherings. Describe a time when you, too, have discriminated against someone based on your perception of their wealth.
Has there ever been a time when you have felt discriminated against because of your own perceived poverty? How did that feel? How do you wish you had been treated?
Why do you think James focuses on discrimination as such a serious obstacle to the work God is doing in our lives? Why does he equate discrimination with what might seem to be much more “serious” sins like adultery and murder (2:9-12)?
What do you think James means when he says “mercy triumphs over judgment”? What do these words mean to you? Can you think of a real-life scenario where you have seen this idea in action?
Read James 5:1-6 together. This is a stern warning! How can you apply this teaching to your life?
If being serious and intentional about the ways you are generous is a critical part for your spiritual health (as James seems to suggest), what steps can you take now to make generosity a more consistent part of your life?