Thursday, April 7, 2011

Playing Favorites?

Are you like me? Do you find yourself sizing people up when you meet them?

 “ She looks cool.”
 “ She doesn't seem to care much about her appearance.”
 “She must spend money like it grows on trees.”
 “I'll bet she shops for her clothes at the bargain basement.”
 “She thinks she's so smart. Could her head get any bigger?”
 “She’s likely never had to work a day in her life.”

Probably a day doesn’t go by before I've caught myself thinking at least one
judgemental thought. I take that back. Most days I don’t catch myself at
all. I just think it and sometimes act on it. Does it affect how I
interact with that person? You bet it does!

I remember a girl that I knew from my college days. She was naturally
beautiful - the kind of beautiful that you see in the magazines. She
was also extremely talented. She could play the piano flawlessly. To
make matters worse, she was actually smart! She usually held the highest
grade in the class on every test. I felt sure she was a snob. Even her
posture fit the part. Well, one late night I was studying for a test in
the basement of my dorm and she came down and started studying right next
to me. Then she spoke to me. Wow. She actually sounded like a normal
person. After an hour or so I realized that I had been all wrong about her.
In fact, her beauty, poise, and intelligence seemed to have worked against
her because she had very few friends. Most likely people had jumped to the
same conclusion I had and that made her untouchable. It's sad. Sometimes
I think we might be better off  blind. Then we would at least put everyone
on the same level as ourselves.

        “My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim to have
         faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some

         people over others?”  James 2:1

Ouch. I’ve definitely been guilty of that. Isn’t everyone?


Christ made no such distinctions. He chose Matthew, a tax collector, as one
 of his closest friends. Incidently, this was not the only tax collector to
 whom he had ever spoke. Remember Zacheus? In John chapter 8 Christ
defended a woman caught in adultery while the rest of the city wanted her
stoned. In John chapter 4 He spoke with a Samaritan woman and offered her
 life giving water despite the fact that she was living with a man who was
 not her husband and who was at least the sixth man in her life. What was
 the greater shock? She was a woman, a Samaritan (a people despised by the
 Jews), and what may have been considered in those days to be the town tramp.
 Christ was called a “friend of sinners”(Matthew 11:19). This was intended to
 be an insult. He didn't take it that way.

On the other hand, maybe it is easier to associate with the lower class,
 especially if that is where you find yourself. But we can see that He met
 with godly, powerful men as well. Nicodemus, a very important Jewish
 religious leader came to Jesus one day and Jesus treated him the same way as
 he had treated the rest (John 3). What way was that? He loved them. He
 served them. He thought of them as people whom God loved. And this is our
 mentor, our example to follow.

So what can I do when I’m having thoughts about others that place them in a
 lower rank than my own?
 - First, pray. We need God’s power to overcome any sin.
 - Second, fill my mind with Scripture to remind me of the truth. “There is
 none righteous, no not one.” (Romans 3:10)
 “For God so loved the world…” (John 3:16)
 “…in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves… Let
 this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form
 of God… made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a
 servant…” Philippians 2:3-7
 - Third, purpose to treat them as you would yourself.
“Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39)

Powerful words. Difficult challenge.
How are you doing?

In retrospect, I should know better. Over the years I have met numerous people who have become dear friends despite the fact that they dressed differently from me, came from a different tax bracket, wore big hair and nose rings, and had sordid pasts. I'm guessing you have met people like this, too. So next time you catch yourself  "sizing someone up,"  think about it.


  1. Owie! The truth often hurts, but thanks.

  2. I especially like the end where you show the blessing of seeing past the outside - those people can become good friends to us. Great post!