Partiality


“[When] you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, ‘You sit here in a good place,’ and say to the poor man, ‘You stand there,’ or, ‘Sit here at my footstool,’ have you not shown partiality among yourselves and become judges...?”— James 2:3-4

The world treats the rich differently than it does the poor. That was true in James’ time and it is true now. While those who are well off in the modern world are not typically domineering over those who are not, people do tend to be deferential to those they see as wealthier than themselves, and are sometimes patronizing to those they see as having less. Rich and poor alike get trained by this, with the former becoming confident and the latter becoming insecure. As a result, while we might not wish to treat people differently based on their material circumstances, we end up doing so just by unconsciously responding to people’s own cues.

The best defense against this partiality is to be aware of it. With each new individual you meet, it might take at least a moment’s prayerful pause to avoid picking up and carrying on the world’s tired and unfair assumptions about that person. This is true even when the meeting takes place in church.

[31 Days of James]