I'm starting on the second chapter of James today, which first instructs us on how we need to be fair in treating others. He starts out by once again, calling us 'brothers' - this is speaking to those who are Christian belivers. Vs 1 - 7
"My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don't show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man with shabby clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes, and say, ' Here's a good seat for you', but say to the poor man, 'You stand there', or 'Sit on the floor by my feet', have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? LISTEN my dear brothers. Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him. But you have insulted the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? Are they not the ones who are slandering the noble name of Him to whom you belong"?
I remember back in the 70s, when men were starting to wear their hair longer, and I saw first hand how some were "welcomed" when visiting our church. You'd hear whispers, and not witness many who would speak or welcome them to the service. As a teen, and very impressionable, I couldn't understand why this was.
We had an evangelist from Scotland come to preach a revival; his name was Ian Leitch. I remember him so well because he was probably in his late 20s, early 30s, and he came into church to preach wearing jeans, casual shirt, a big leather watch, and had hair down over his ears (which to my parents and others was lonnnnnnnng hair). I was drawn to every word he said in his Scottish accent. He spoke with kindness, and preached with power! Although I knew the older members of the church weren't thrilled with his appearance, the normal whispers weren't there as much, because he was the nephew of one of the older members. He was welcomed more than a regular person walking in off the street, who would be similar in appearance. Again, I was confused.
I think though, that when the ones who seemed to judge him on his appearance saw that he was filled with the Spirit of God, and brought many to come to believe in him and accept him as Lord and Savior - their eyes were opened somewhat.
We all need to be careful in how we look at and judge others based solely on their appearance. Our Lord didn't parade around in fancy clothes - he was humble, and hung out with the crowd that the leaders - the Scribes and Pharisees despised. They called our Lord all kinds of names, accusing him of associating with "sinners". He quickly rebuked them for their pious attitudes and vicious words.
Our prayer should be that we see everyone through the eyes of the Lord - that we take the time to get past what their outer appearance looks like, and look into their eyes; the very place that the Lord called the window of our hearts. It's amazing at what our eyes reflect - they can be bright and full of light, or they can reflect sadness and despair. Take the time to allow the Lord not only to show you the "real" person inside, but also to trust him to give you what you need to be an example of him in their lives.
Have a blessed Friday - pray for our leaders, and for them to seek God for his wisdom in leading our country. Pray for our soldiers - one of which I am a mother to, and pray that you will be effective today, in your witness to the grace and love of our Lord Jesus.