A few days ago we wrapped up the memorization of verses 5-7 in James 2, which says...
Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?
Before jumping into that, I have to back track a bit to last week. It all just flows together.
I wonder if sometimes we go through passages like these first seven verses in James and think to ourselves "Well... that's obvious!" Really, I've met very few Christians who actually scoff at a poor person entering the church. BUT then I think a little harder and I realize that this is truly just all too common and the evil judging we do is actually just a matter of the kind of church we're in. Because, like it or not, this happens everywhere, at least every now and again. Now, I am not saying EVERY person in EVERY church is guilty of this ALL of the time. What I am saying is that we've all done it. Whether it's the second glance we give the person that walks into our traditional church wearing jeans, or it's gaze that won't linger away from the person that walks into our casual church with track marks scarring her arms. In those moments, even if it is just for a moment, we discriminate and fail to see another person who - like each of us - was created in the image of God.
The point in these verses is that appearance does not necessarily reflect the condition of the heart. Can appearance reflect the heart? Yes. But even someone who the world could define as tastefully dressed can have a heart that is far from Christ. And, as the verses above share, who the world may define as poor is not necessarily who God would define as poor. Often the poor of the world are the ones who realize just how blessed they really are. And the thing is - we know this. We just allow the world to shade our eyes with what we should define as good and right.
As it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one... - Romans 3:10
Really, none of us are good or right. We're just grace covered. Even with our grace covered souls, sometimes our minds forget that those in the worst of (worldly) circumstances are often the ones who recognize most the need for a savior.