Section 1 – Monday
Read James 2: 1-13
I’ll be using the NIV and the MSG versions.
This section is talking to us about making decisions on how to treat other people. We are told here not to treat people according to their outward appearance. This specific example is about how rich a person is. The world today believes that people with riches, beauty or status have more value. But we are told in 1 Sam 16:7 that God does not judge people by their outward appearance. He judges them by their heart.
I found myself in an awkward situation a few months back. I was around some new people whose outward appearance revealed sin in their lives. I ignorantly assumed that they didn’t have a relationship with the Lord. As I got to know them personally, I found that they did have a personal relationship with the Lord. They loved the Lord very much. How could this be, I wondered. Then I reflected on my own life and saw the sin in my own life. Wow! The difficult things I struggle with I dismissed. The difficult things other people struggle with I held against them. Now this is some sort of special accounting system! Later I ran across Prov 8:17 that says,
I love those who love me….
What? Where does sin come into this? It doesn’t! Check out Romans chapter 6 if you want to get the scoop on how grace doesn’t dismiss our sin but covers it. Even 1 Peter 4:8 will speak of how love covers a multitude of sin. So, sin is sin and we all struggle with some form of it. Giving grace to others allows us to receive grace for ourselves. We can use grace in our own lives to love people we would not usually feel comfortable around. Grace to follow God’s Word even if it is not popular in our group of friends or goes against what we have been taught. Grace is not an acceptance of another person’s sin, but it is the acceptance of the other person who has sin. How awesome that we can love each other no matter where we are in life. How awesome that we can give God’s love to everyone.
Questions for the week:
- Do I judge others that are struggling with a specific form of sin?
- Do I find it hard to love others that struggle with a specific form of sin?
- Do I believe that loving others that are sinning is giving them my approval for their sin?
- Do I know the difference between loving and accommodating?
- Reach out with kindness to someone you may have been judging. Look past their sin and find out what type of heart is underneath the surface.
Section 2 – Friday
Reread James 2:1-13
Did you notice any people you were judging or avoiding? Were you able to reach out and show kindness to someone new?
What did you notice about their heart when you stopped looking at the outward appearance? What did you notice about your self as you stepped out in love?