If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. (James 2:8–9, NIV).
My Musings – I am the youngest of three brothers. Come Christmas time when we were young, my mom always made sure the same amount was spent on presents for each of us. This inevitably meant one or two of us ended up with an odd pair of socks or a handkerchief, just to even things up. Mom played no favorites. Dad would laugh, but he didn’t have any favorites either. They both loved each of us the same.
After we had grown to adulthood, my mom received a notice that she needed to name a secondary beneficiary or beneficiaries to her retirement plan. My dad, naturally, was the primary beneficiary. She returned the form, naming each of her three boys with 1/3rd each. That posed a problem. The plan administrator returned the form, stating that the designation had to be in even percentages. Asking me what that meant, I simply replied, “it means you have to choose.” We still laugh about that.
The context of this passage from James involved an illustration where “special attention [was shown a] man wearing fine clothes” as opposed to a “a poor man in shabby clothes.” (James 2:2-3, NIV 1984). James’ conclusion? “Have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?” (James 2:4). Of course, this illustration is not limited to rich versus poor. It could be young versus old, this “Samaritan” versus “Jew,” white collar versus blue collar, those with a “higher” education versus those without, this clique versus that clique. We all came to Jesus at the foot of the same cross. Not a one more deserving than the other. Jesus does not discriminate, neither should we.
So, I suppose you are wondering how my mom solved her dilemma? Who did she choose? Well, it just so happens that she also named the three of us as co-executors or her estate. Since my two brothers live out-of-state, she reasoned that more of the burden or settling the estate would fall me, as I am still local. So, I ended up with 34% while my two brothers ended up with 33% each. A Solomon-like solution. As for my extra 1%, I think I’ll buy my brothers some socks and handkerchiefs.
My Advice – Check the list above. They are all your brothers and sisters. Love them all alike. And while we are at it, let’s extend this same kind of love to those who are not believers too.