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Why do we judge a book by its cover?

by | Jul 29, 2013 | Christianity | 0 comments

Read: James 2: 1-7

1 My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.
2 For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in,
3 and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,”
4 have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
5 Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?
6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court?
7 Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?


Admit it.  We all have done it. Even though we have been warned to not “judge a book by its cover”, we do make assumptions about a person by their appearance, the clothes they wear, don’t we?  It was really not that different in the first century as James points out in the opening verses of chapter two. Can you see in your mind’s eye the rich man and the poor man entering the church meeting?

The truth is that people are different and some have more material possessions than others.  Some have better clothes or drive a nicer care, but where the real problem begins is when our actions are influence by our personal assumptions. When we do this James says that we have become “judges with evil thoughts.” We view people based on what they can do for me or for the church. And that is the point James is making here: followers of Christ are not to show preference to one person or another based on what they have to offer, but treat all people with honor.


Romans 2:11 tells us that “God shows no partiality.”

So, how do we respond to this passage based on what James has written? First, I think we should acknowledge that noticing someones wealth or lack of means is not the real problem. The more important question is how I treat others. So, let’s begin the week with a little self-analysis. How well are we living up to the Biblical standard?


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