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Favoritism Forbidden

“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. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.”1

Vending machines have come a long way over the years. It used to be you slid in a couple of coins and pulled a lever and down would drop your snack or drink. Now there are lights, levers, cranes, codes, and chutes that make the purchase a production of its own. But one of the greatest advances in vending machine technology was the ability of the machine to accept bills rather than just coins. Especially as prices increased, it came as a relief not having to search the car seats for that extra quarter - now you just slide in a dollar bill or two and you’re ready to snack. That is unless your dollar bill is rejected!

What a terrible feeling. You watch your dollar get sucked into the machine and then it spits it back at you. You check the little picture to make sure George’s head is facing the right way and try again. If you’re rejected again, you do that little ritual that you saw some other guys do - you take the bill and rub it on a corner trying to take out any possible crease in the bill. You unfold any turned-up corners and hope your bill is good enough. If you still find your bill rejected, you’re now ready to take the machine on - that’s why they put those machines behind metal bars!! "What’s the deal," you think. A dollar is a dollar, after all, whether it’s fresh out of the mint or if it’s been folded, wadded, washed and taped. Why should this machine accept a good-looking bill but reject an old, worn out one? A clean, fresh bill is of no more value than a worn-out one, right?2

As much as we would hate to admit it, we can be much like these vending machines. Many times, we have the tendency to accept the people who have it all together and are less accepting of people who have been folded, creased, washed, or taped. People in the second category often find themselves rejected, or “spit out” due to our favoritism much like those old dollar bills in the vending machine.

However, in James chapter two we are told clearly the type of behavior we should exhibit as Christians. James gives the example of a man wearing fine clothes walking in, and at the same time a poor man in filthy old clothes also coming in. The rich man is shown special attention and given the best seats, but the poor man is not invited to sit at the same seat, but instead told to “stand there” or “sit on the floor by my feet.”3 In verse one James tells us, “My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism.”

All kinds of people, many of whom had been rejected by society, found themselves welcomed and accepted by Jesus. Jesus saw past the flaws that others focused on, and saw the worth in every individual. Let us imitate His example.

Suggested prayer: Dear God, thank you that you came to seek that which was lost. You came to the broken people like me who had many times been rejected or fallen short of society’s expectations. Help me imitate your example of acceptance and love to all – without showing favoritism. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. In Jesus’ name, amen.

  1. James 2:8-10 (NIV).


  3. James 2:2-3.

All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.