My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. (James 2:1)
Today there is a lot of talk about racism and anti-racism and Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality and the problem of racism within the church and what is to be done about it. How do we as the Church deal with it? Where do we find the answer to root it out? Do we need to go outside of scripture? The Bible and the Church have been around for a long time and yet racism has not been eradicated, even within the Church. Some argue this is because the Bible does not explicitly deal with the problem of racism. Or, does it? In James chapter two, scripture says, “My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, ‘You sit here in a good place,’ while you say to the poor man, ‘You stand over there,’ or, ‘Sit down at my feet,’ have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?” While James is using as an example the problem of showing preferential treatment to those of higher economic class and treating with disdain those of poor economic standing, this is just an example he is using. What cannot be missed is that as believers, within the church and outside of the church, we are commanded to “show no partiality” and to make no “distinctions” among people based on economic status, education, race, ethnicity, gender, or appearance (i.e., tattoos vs. no tattoos, coat and tie vs. casual clothing, clean vs. dirty, etc.). The second Great Commandment is to “love your neighbor as yourself.” Thus, to violate the second Great Commandment is to violate the first Great Commandment. In other words, you cannot truly love God with all your heart, mind, and soul if you do not truly love your neighbor as yourself.
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