Friday, April 04, 2003

Edifier du Jour-James 2:1-8(NASB)
1: My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism. 2: For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, 3: and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, "You sit here in a good place," and you say to the poor man, "You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool," 4: have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives? 5: Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? 6: But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally drag you into court? 7: Do they not blaspheme the fair name by which you have been called? 8: If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF," you are doing well.
I have to fight off classism in myself from time to time. A couple of weeks ago, one of our friends brought a family from down the road to church. The young mom’s straight out of trailer-trash Central Casting, while the guy's got a rap sheet and a face piercing halfway between his lip and chin. I had a hard time feeling comfortable with them. However, Mr. Chin Piercing needs Jesus just as much as my fellow professors. I’d prefer to love the stockbrokers and schoolteachers in my circle, but that’s not what God’s calling us to. I’m thinking of the parable of the Good Samaritan; we’re quick to forget (if we ever knew it in the first place) that the Samaritans were the trailer trash of the day and the phrase would have been an oxymoron to a devout Jew of the era. The other passage that comes to mind was Jesus with the Samarian woman at the well. Now there’s trailer trash for you, working on her fifth husband. Yet Jesus spoke to her with the same love he showed to everyone else, if not more. We need to look at snobbery as a sin on a par with racism.

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