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Do I Have To?


James 2:1-4

Verse 2 Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in.


A few of days ago we talked about loving our neighbor, specifically the widow and orphan, today we look at another specific group which may be different for each of us.


Have you ever looked at someone and thought, "Where did they come from and why are they here?" Likely different from you, maybe they had a different style of hair or maybe a far out color of hair. Maybe they had more places tattooed or pierced than you knew were possible. Maybe they had a disability that made you uncomfortable because they made noises when you thought they should be quiet. No matter the difference we are not to treat them differently.


Yesterday we talked about how we don’t like it when someone shows favoritism to others and yet we often show the same thing to those who are not like us. We pick and choose people based on looks, clothing, and so many other things. But Jesus said that we are not to be living that way. He wants us to look at others as He looks at them. But can we learn to look at people through His eyes? And what does that look like?


We see many examples of Jesus caring for the outcasts. He spoke to the lepers even when the law said to keep away from them. He healed a lady of a bleeding disorder (she also fell under the heading of unclean according to Jewish law) even though she merely touched His garment because she didn’t feel she was worthy enough to ask for His healing power. He showed kindness to prostitutes even as the Jewish people shamed Him for doing it. If we were honest, these would probably be the same people we would have avoided.


He showed that it was the person that mattered to Him. It wasn’t that He ignored their need. He didn’t greet the lepers and then leave them in their position. Though the woman felt unworthy to ask Him for healing, He not only healed her but stopped and talked to her. He showed kindness to the prostitutes and showed them He had a better way. He never left people how He found them.


Do people we encounter on a daily basis, some who are very different from us, come away thinking they have been met someone who cared about them as a person? If not, we aren’t living as Jesus.


Making It Personal

Can you think of a time you shunned someone only to find them to not be what you thought they were because you had judged them on their looks? Have you ever been shunned or treated different because of what you look like? Who is someone that you know you should be nice to that you haven’t been?


Making It Personal Kids

Have you ever felt left out? Have you ever met someone that you didn’t like because you thought they looked or acted weird? How can you show kindness to someone who isn’t like you?


Closing Prayer

Father, forgive us for the times that we have treated people unkindly because they weren’t like us. Give us a love for all people, not just those that are like us. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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