It was a mother who made my friend cry. She called me to tell me the story, all the while struggling to get the words out–of how that mother’s face gnarled and hurled nasty comments. Women can work up the cruelest hate–a mother to a child, a sister to a sister, a friend to a friend, a neighbor to a neighbor.
Is anyone immune to the things that divide? James talks about prejudice–and I’ve seen that preference play out in plenty of circles–the inner circle vs the outer circle … public schoolers vs homeschoolers … girls’ night out vs homebodies … bottle feeders vs breast feeders … scratch bakers vs box mix … there’s no shortage of things that can cause a divide.
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?
2 For example, suppose someone comes into your meeting dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in dirty clothes. 3 If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, “You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor”—well, 4 doesn’t this discrimination show that your judgments are guided by evil motives?
5 Listen to me, dear brothers and sisters. Hasn’t God chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith? Aren’t they the ones who will inherit the Kingdom he promised to those who love him? 6 But you dishonor the poor! Isn’t it the rich who oppress you and drag you into court? 7 Aren’t they the ones who slander Jesus Christ, whose noble name you bear?” James 2:1-7, NLT.
My beautiful friend called and cried at accusations spewed at her, and my heart broke for her and her accuser. My heart broke because I’ve been part of those battles, and sometimes I don’t know which side I’m on.
8 Yes indeed, it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the Scriptures: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 9 But if you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin. You are guilty of breaking the law.
10 For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws. 11 For the same God who said, “You must not commit adultery,” also said, “You must not murder.” So if you murder someone but do not commit adultery, you have still broken the law.
12 So whatever you say or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law that sets you free. 13 There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you. James 2:8-13, NLT.
I know in my future there will be plenty of times to choose a side. Lord, help me to choose mercy.