Discrimination based on wealth has always existed.
Wealth makes many “friends”; poverty drives them all away. Proverbs 19:4
The relatives of the poor despise them; how much more will their friends avoid them! Though the poor plead with them, their friends are gone. Proverbs 19:7
For example, suppose someone comes into your meeting dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in dirty clothes. If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, “You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor”—well, doesn’t this discrimination show that your judgments are guided by evil motives?….But if you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin. You are guilty of breaking the law. James 2:2-4, 9
“But if you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin.”
I have been pondering what I have dubbed “the sin of partiality” for over a year and have asked God to rid me of all partiality. Much progress has been made. More progress to come.
If we are to take the above Scriptures seriously — which I am trying to do — we are obligated to ask some questions.
These questions hurt.
At least they hurt me. But if God is to have as much room as possible in our hearts to reflect His nature through us to the world (which was last week’s focus HERE), we must ask the tough questions.
And if the answers hurt, let them hurt.
- Do I treat rich people more favorably than the poor?
To help answer honestly, consider these questions: Do I get more excited about a dinner invitation from someone well-to-do (and maybe more famous, powerful, successful) than from someone who is not? Do I get more excited about visiting an expensive home in a “good part of town” than an apartment in a sketchy part of town? Is there anything in me that is more open to a relationship with a person in higher financial circles than with a person who makes less than me?
- Am I a “friend” to someone because of their wealth?
Scripture tells us in Proverbs 19:4 that this dynamic exists (see above). Am I an actual friend to my rich friend? Would I be treating my rich friend exactly the same if they did not have much money?
- Is someone a “friend” to me because of my wealth?
Am I being fooled into thinking I have more friends than I do because people are hanging around me because of my bank account (or perceived bank account)?
- Do I shy away from people who are poor?
When I enter a crowded room at an event or show up at the neighborhood pool, do I gravitate away from people who look poor when deciding where to sit?
- Am I poor?
Perhaps these verses explain some dynamics I experience in my friendship circles. The problem never was me but financial bias.
We must ask these questions of ourselves.
We must, because of verse 9: But if you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin. You are guilty of breaking the law. Research indicates we tend to develop our closest friendship circles with people that look a lot like this us.
Who is in your friend group?
Take a look at your friend group with bible in hand and see if there is any partiality. Ask yourself:
- Do I have friends who are poor?
- Do I have friends with special needs?
- Do I have friends from some ethnicities but not others?
- Do I only have friends from one community or organization?
- Do I only have friends with family structures that mirror mine?
You get the idea.
This partiality stuff is what I want ripped out of me. I think these types of questions start to dig around in the deeper parts of our hearts. Let’s be brave. Let’s allow God to shine the flashlight toward the shadowy corners of our minds. Let’s get whatever we need to clean our hearts of partiality…the dust rag, the broom, the mop and bucket, or even the dumpster! Whatever God shows us, let Him clean it up.
Let God change our hearts so that no person is valued any less or more than another.
If we allows the sin of partiality to be removed from the recesses of our hearts today, we will see tangible results over time. Five years from now our social circles will better reflect the world’s population, not just a pocket. Just like God welcomes people of all ethnicities, physical abilities and financial means, we can too.
Picture Explanation: My man and I turn 29 years today. (Liquid Death is water. Not that it matters, but sometimes it does.) My hands are showing age, as is our marriage. I have only worn a wedding band since early in our marriage. For a special dinner last night I wore the full bridal set on my left hand and my 25-year gold quartz band on my right. We have gone some distance.
The last picture is what we must be willing to let God do to our hearts sometimes — gut out all the ugly stuff to make more room for Him.
There is an online study of One Gritty Blink starting September 21 from 7-9 p.m. Click on the Oaks Ministries link below to view the trailer and consider joining.
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