Favoritism


 
“My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism” (James 2:1).

That should be enough said; just don’t. We probably don’t think of ourselves as showing favoritism but when we show unfavoritism, it’s the same thing. How do you think the organization PETA feels about hunters or vice versa? Hunters label them as a group of idiots, and they label hunters as barbarians. That’s prejudice. Prejudice isn’t limited to race. It has as many forms as there are differences in people.

And, prejudice is sin. James wrote, “If you show favoritism, you sin” (James 2:9).

Peter encountered his own prejudice and it could have kept him from meeting a really good man. God told Peter to go to a man named Cornelius’ house. Cornelius was a Roman soldier–a Gentile. Peter wouldn’t have gone to a Gentile’s house, but God changed Peter’s heart by giving him a vision. “He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. It contained all kinds of four footed animals as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air, ‘Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.’ ‘Surely not, Lord’ Peter replied. I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.’ The voice spoke to him a second time, ‘Do not call anything impure that God has made clean’” (Acts 10:10-15). PETA wouldn’t like that verse, but God got his point across and Peter went to Cornelius’ house. When he got there, he told Cornelius: “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him. But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean” (Acts 10:28). Peter had placed all the Gentiles in one bag and labeled it unclean.

We are different colors, languages and interests, but we sin when we put an “inferior” label on anyone.

Cornelius, as it turned out, was someone Peter had a lot in common with. “He and all his family were devout and God – fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly” (Acts 10:2). Peter would have never met him if God hadn’t helped him overcome his prejudice. I’m guessing that both Peter and Cornelius were really glad he did.

 

 

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