James was concerned about the way his congregations were treating prominent people. Instead of simply welcoming them as members and inviting the to share in the church’s worship and mission, people were rushing around, fawning over the rich and famous, putting them in honored seats. And in the rush, the poor were being pushed into a corner or made to sit on the floor.
My dear friends, don’t let public opinion influence how you live out our glorious, Christ-originated faith. If a man enters your church wearing an expensive suit, and a street person wearing rags comes in right after him, and you say to the man in the suit, “Sit here, sir; this is the best seat in the house!” and either ignore the street person or say, “Better sit here in the back row,” haven’t you segregated God’s children and proved that you are judges who can’t be trusted?James 2:1-4
The churches were treating the rich not as fellow worshipers but as representatives of wealth and power from whom they hoped to benefit. The minute we begin either admiring or despising one another, we quit worshiping as a congregation of God’s people. That isn’t the way churches should operate, said James. And that isn’t the way we should operate as individuals.
Talk and act like a person expecting to be judged by the Rule that sets us free. For if you refuse to act kindly, you can hardly expect to be treated kindly. Kind mercy wins over harsh judgment every time.James 2:12-13
Insight found in The Message Devotional Bible.