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Posts Tagged ‘favoritism in the church’

Quiet and overweight, the new girl in school was an easy target. She’d shuffle down the hall in nondescript clothing, her unkempt hair hanging across her face as if it knew she longed to be hidden. A year younger than she, I don’t recall her name although I remember the caustic words the pretty girls spewed as their victim sidled toward the row of lockers.

Something stinks.

Daintily waving their hands as if to ward off a stench, the two friends screwed their petite features in disgust and groaned. The boys and girls in the hallway began to titter in agreement and follow their lead. Something stinks.

I wanted to do something. I wanted to cry, but the quiet girl feigned ignorance and continued the long stretch toward class alone.

The silent, brown-haired tween moved away from our school as quickly as she’d arrived. There was no going away party and no opportunity to say good-bye.

I’ve often thought of her. I’d like to tell her I’m sorry. I’m sorry I didn’t befriend her. I’m sorry I wasn’t brave. I’m sorry even children can be cruel, unkind, and uncaring. That even the most innocent of us judge others based on the world’s shallow standards of beauty, charm, and status.

Perhaps we can excuse away childhood callousness with psychobabble about pro-social behavior or not knowing any better. In adult circles, discrimination may be dressed up as inappropriate jesting as well as more overt practices. Lack of inclusion. Failure to hire. Avoidance. Sadly, those ruled by hatred may resort to violence-an occurrence with which we’ve become far too familiar.

...there is no place in the church for discrimination. Ever. 
#theywillknowusbyourlove #discrimination Click To Tweet

But there is no place in the church for discrimination. Ever.

“My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?”

Using scripture to interpret scripture, we can learn more about God’s attitude toward discrimination. Let’s take a look at the following verse.

Matthew 22:15-16 (NIV) Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are.

Oh, how I would love for God to say the same of me! Wouldn’t you?

Daughter, you are a woman of integrity. You aren’t swayed by others because…of who they are.

In the 90’s, country singer Shania Twain lent her voice to the tune “Don’t Impress Me Much”. Although the song’s message is worldly, it caught my attention as it poked fun at a woman’s self-consumed love interest and ended with the lines,

Okay, so what do you think, you’re Elvis or something
Whatever
That don’t impress me.

Christ lived a don’t-impress-me-much attitude.

Religion didn’t impress him. Power didn’t impress him. Wealth didn’t impress him. He gave up heavenly glory for earthly poverty in order to rescue you and me; in order to rescue the unimpressive.

Instead, Christ seeks after a life surrendered to Him.

Paul shares this powerful passage in Galatians 3:28 (NIV), “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

There are no differentiations in God's kingdom. No VIP sections. 
Only Emmanuel will receive our adoration. Click To Tweet

There are no differentiations in God’s kingdom. No VIP sections. No special boarding passes or red-carpet moments. Paparazzi won’t chase after Elijah or Esther; only Emmanuel will receive our adoration.

In the same way, we are to remember “we are all one in Christ Jesus”.

Reconsider the words of James 2:1-5.

“My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?”

Both the rich and poor man described in the situation above are unexpected guests and neither is treated any differently than if they attended any other gathering. Let’s assume these men are unaware of Jesus’ saving grace. Will either of them be swayed by judgmental people within the body of believers? Will they come to know Him through me? Or you?

Christ’s people are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and, if we remain in Him, we will live differently. We will see, treat, and love others through the eyes of Christ. Oh, Friend—how often I fail when I live and walk in the flesh, but when the Spirit is in control of my heart, mind, and soul then transformation happens.

I care less about how others perceive me and more about how I can meet their needs. I’m less impressed by status and more interested in salvation. I look beyond race, creed, or color and see the tears, the pain, and a heart that pounds out the question, “Who will love me anyway?”.

James continues in verse 8, “If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing right.”

Love.

We are living in world that throws love around until the word seems to have lost its worth.

I love chocolate. (True.) I love dogs. I love sleeping in on Saturday. I love…fill in the blank.

But the love James refers to is sacrificial, life-giving love—the soul-deep, Christ-shaped love people long for without even realizing it. Pure, beautiful, unadulterated love flowing from the throne room into our living rooms, classrooms, and boardrooms. Spanning the invisible boundaries of white churches, black churches, Hispanic churches, and Korean churches.

Christ’s love is greater and more powerful than anything you and I will face individually, locally, nationally, or globally and we can be part of the answer. In Him, we are persevering, love-offering, Christ-sharing believers.

Reflect

What action step can you take today to “love your neighbor as yourself”?

In what way is God asking you to move beyond the invisible boundaries of status, color, or race in order to break down the barriers of favoritism within the church, your neighborhood, or community?

Are you struggling to find hope in this unsettling time? If so, I have a free gift for you today. Each month you will receive a Bible study article like the one you read today from my book, The Persevering Believer: Hope in Every Season. The first several days are already available and you can download the excert

Quiet and overweight, the new girl in school was an easy target. She’d shuffle down the hall in nondescript clothing, her unkempt hair hanging across her face as if it knew she longed to be hidden. A year younger than she, I don’t recall her name although I remember the caustic words the pretty girls spewed as their victim sidled toward the row of lockers.

Something stinks.

Daintily waving their hands as if to ward off a stench, the two friends screwed their petite features in disgust and groaned. The boys and girls in the hallway began to titter in agreement and follow their lead. Something stinks.

I wanted to do something. I wanted to cry, but the quiet girl feigned ignorance and continued the long stretch toward class alone.

The silent, brown-haired tween moved away from our school as quickly as she’d arrived. There was no going away party and no opportunity to say good-bye.

I’ve often thought of her. I’d like to tell her I’m sorry. I’m sorry I didn’t befriend her. I’m sorry I wasn’t brave. I’m sorry even children can be cruel, unkind, and uncaring. That even the most innocent of us judge others based on the world’s shallow standards of beauty, charm, and status.

Perhaps we can excuse away childhood callousness with psychobabble about pro-social behavior or not knowing any better. In adult circles, discrimination may be dressed up as inappropriate jesting as well as more overt practices. Lack of inclusion. Failure to hire. Avoidance. Sadly, those ruled by hatred may resort to violence-an occurrence with which we’ve become far too familiar.

...there is no place in the church for discrimination. Ever. #theywillknowusbyourlove #discrimination Click To Tweet

But there is no place in the church for discrimination. Ever.

“My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?”

Using scripture to interpret scripture, we can learn more about God’s attitude toward discrimination. Let’s take a look at the following verse.

Matthew 22:15-16 (NIV) Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know that you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are.

Oh, how I would love for God to say the same of me! Wouldn’t you?

Daughter, you are a woman of integrity. You aren’t swayed by others because…of who they are.

In the 90’s, country singer Shania Twain lent her voice to the tune “Don’t Impress Me Much”. Although the song’s message is worldly, it caught my attention as it poked fun at a woman’s self-consumed love interest and ended with the lines,

Okay, so what do you think, you’re Elvis or something
Whatever
That don’t impress me.

Christ lived a don’t-impress-me-much attitude.

Religion didn’t impress him. Power didn’t impress him. Wealth didn’t impress him. He gave up heavenly glory for earthly poverty in order to rescue you and me; in order to rescue the unimpressive.

Instead, Christ seeks after a life surrendered to Him.

Paul shares this powerful passage in Galatians 3:28 (NIV), “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

There are differentiations in God's kingdom. No VIP sections. Only Emmanuel will receive our adoration. Click To Tweet

There are no differentiations in God’s kingdom. No VIP sections. No special boarding passes or red-carpet moments. Paparazzi won’t chase after Elijah or Esther; only Emmanuel will receive our adoration.

In the same way, we are to remember “we are all one in Christ Jesus”.

Reconsider the words of James 2:1-5.

“My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?”

Both the rich and poor man described in the situation above are unexpected guests and neither is treated any differently than if they attended any other gathering. Let’s assume these men are unaware of Jesus’ saving grace. Will either of them be swayed by judgmental people within the body of believers? Will they come to know Him through me? Or you?

Christ’s people are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and, if we remain in Him, we will live differently. We will see, treat, and love others through the eyes of Christ. Oh, Friend—how often I fail when I live and walk in the flesh, but when the Spirit is in control of my heart, mind, and soul then transformation happens.

 Click To Tweet

I care less about how others perceive me and more about how I can meet their needs. I’m less impressed by status and more interested in salvation. I look beyond race, creed, or color and see the tears, the pain, and a heart that pounds out the question, “Who will love me anyway?”.

James continues in verse 8, “If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing right.”

Love.

We are living in world that throws love around until the word seems to have lost its worth.

I love chocolate. (True.) I love dogs. I love sleeping in on Saturday. I love…fill in the blank.

 Click To Tweet

But the love James refers to is sacrificial, life-giving love—the soul-deep, Christ-shaped love people long for without even realizing it. Pure, beautiful, unadulterated love flowing from the throne room into our living rooms, classrooms, and boardrooms. Spanning the invisible boundaries of white churches, black churches, Hispanic churches, and Korean churches.

Christ’s love is greater and more powerful than anything you and I will face individually, locally, nationally, or globally and we can be part of the answer. In Him, we are persevering, love-offering, Christ-sharing believers.

Reflect

What action step can you take today to “love your neighbor as yourself”?

In what way is God asking you to move beyond the invisible boundaries of status, color, or race in order to break down the barriers of favoritism within the church, your neighborhood, or community?

Are you struggling to find hope in this unsettling time? If so, I have a free gift for you today. Each month you will receive a Bible study article like the one you read today from my book, The Persevering Believer: Hope in Every Season. The first several days are already available and you can download them here.  I pray they are a blessing to you.

Peace and grace,

Tammy

I often link up with the following wonderful bloggers:

Mondays   InstaEncouragementsMandy and MicheleKingdom Bloggers,

Tuesdays RaRa Linkup /GraceFull Tuesday / Tell His Story/Anchored Abode,

Wednesdays   Worth Beyond RubiesRecharge Wednesday Welcome Wednesday /LetsHave Coffee/

Thursdays Heart Encouragement  /  Tune In Thursday  /Salt and Light /  Five Minute Friday

Friday Faith on Fire, Blogger Voices Network, Grace and Truth Linkup

I pray they are a blessing to you.

Peace and grace,

Tammy

I often link up with the following wonderful bloggers:

Mondays   InstaEncouragementsMandy and MicheleKingdom Bloggers,

Tuesdays RaRa Linkup /GraceFull Tuesday / Tell His Story/Anchored Abode,

Wednesdays   Worth Beyond RubiesRecharge Wednesday Welcome Wednesday /LetsHave Coffee/

Thursdays Heart Encouragement  /  Tune In Thursday  /Salt and Light /  Five Minute Friday

Friday Faith on Fire, Blogger Voices Network, Grace and Truth Linkup

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