Showing Partiality

Richard Thetford

It is in our nature to be partial to certain things. None of us have the exact likes and dislikes for things of this life. Showing partiality for certain material things is not bad and adds to variety. If everyone liked the same things, there would be no need to ask someone what they liked or didn't like. But there is a sin of partiality spoken of in James 2:1-13. When we exhibit an attitude of personal favoritism to one individual over another, then we are sinning.

Every Soul is Important

We must keep in mind that every human being has a soul and everyone is special in the sight of God. Verses 2-3 is talking about an individual that attends the assembly that is dressed very well and another one that is poor. In the case of the well dressed man special treatment is given to ensure that he receives only the best. The other man (the poor man) is not given the best. Partiality has been used in this case and it is pointed out by James that this is wrong. When we show partiality over people then we are in fact saying that "one soul is more important than the other" based solely upon the outward appearance of an individual. So, how do we work at overcoming this problem that we might have? Look at verse 8. If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you do well. If we really do look out for others as we love ourselves then we will not ever have this problem of showing partiality.