The Beautiful People
James 2:1,13 My brothers, show no partiality… For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
In this passage James makes the powerful case that favoritism towards the rich, beautiful and successful at the expense the unfortunate (in our eyes) is equivalent to judging and in judging, we judge ourselves to be evil. He says our partiality towards the successful betrays our fleshly obsession with the world’s riches and pleasures. Our tendency to turn everything, including church, into a pageant, reveals that we are more interested in being rich in the world than rich in God. We inappropriately focus on outward appearance and we look down on those who do not meet our defective standards.
Am I guilty of this? Do I judge people by outward appearance? Do I love all, whether or not I find them successful or beautiful?
But God, some people do not shower or brush their teeth. Surely you do not mean that I have to get close to them? Do you think I loved you because you impressed me with your outward appearance? But God, some people are too lazy to work, I do not have any responsibility to help them do I? Did you have to work to earn my love? But God, these people are sinners, some of them are even addicts. I am not even going to respond to that…
James does not set limits on whom we are to love and show mercy. He warns that in judging others worthy or unworthy, we will ourselves be judged. Is James saying that God will refuse me mercy if I am not merciful?
James is saying that God is not mocked. A man reaps that which he sows. If in my arrogance I find others beneath me, then that sentiment will return to me. In my arrogance and pride, others will judge me arrogantly. I can live as if I am better than those around me, but I will reap what I sow.
If however, I live humbly before God and if I treat others with respect and kindness, I will be shown the same.