It’s a standard of value

It’s easy to respect a tall individual who is well dressed, speaking correctly, and courteous. I think most of us would agree. It’s not as easy to respect someone who is lacking in taste, wearing old clothes, and rude. That is our nature, we naturally respect those who present themselves well and disrespect those who do not appear to be as well off.

The Lord addresses this sort of prejudice in James 2. Apparently, some members of the early church respected rich people but were disrespecting those less fortunate. Read what is said in James 2:8-9,

“If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.”

The way those two verses are adjoined directly point to the fact that when we respect someone more “fortunate” we are participating in sin. When you see someone who appears rich, or fashionable, or attractive- and that has an effect on your treatment of them, that is sin. God tells us to love all men. God values people because they are His, and he made them in His image.

Who are we to place more value on one person vs another based on a lesser standard. Based on what pleases our eye? Stop and think about that for a moment. When you value an “attractive” (or “attractively” dressed) person more than someone else, what are you saying? You’re saying, “You are more valuable because it makes me feel better to look at you.” When you value a rich person vs otherwise, what are you saying? You’re saying, “You are more valuable because you can give me more than he can.” What selfishness!? What utter corruption!?

People of all types and walks of life have equal value. Why? Because God said they do. God determined their value, and He commanded that they be treated as valuable. How valuable? As valuable as we naturally value ourselves. We are all equally valuable in reality. God tells us that when we make preferences of certain people over others, we are committing sin.

I challenge you, search your heart and attitudes and see if you are harboring such sin in your life.

If you are, ask God to transform you so that you value everyone like He values them. Infinitely.

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Do you have a heart?

Have you ever known someone that was really annoying? They were rude, unsportsmanlike, selfish, and didn’t seem all that intelligent? Perhaps this person did more and more to reduce their value in your eyes. Over time, you didn’t care what that person thought or felt, and pretty soon, you didn’t give one iota about their well being either.

I must confess, I’ve been there. There have been some times that I have had so much disgust for someone that I almost hated them. I honestly believe that this sort of miserable condition is what Proverbs 11:12 is speaking of when it says,

“He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour: but a man of understanding holdeth his peace.”

That word despise really carries the meaning of “to value as nothing.” It’s easy to devalue people who don’t treat us the way we want. It’s natural to love less those who disrespect us, but the God has something very profound to say about this. He says that such a person who devalues his neighbor is devoid of wisdom.

But it doesn’t end there. The Hebrew word translated as wisdom, is translated over 500 times as our word “heart.” So let’s put this in a literal way. If you don’t value or love your neighbor, you don’t have a heart.

On the other hand, if you are a person of intelligence and understanding, then you will hold your peace. You will be silent. You will keep the peace. Perhaps you will even love them.

Those are some pretty intense opposites.

I challenge you, search your heart. See if there is someone that you do not value as God values. It is not a healthy thing to harbor feelings or attitudes that do not coincide with God’s view. In case we didn’t get the full picture from this scripture, God spells it out in Proverbs 14:21 when He says, “He that despiseth his neighbour sinneth.”

Don’t allow selfishness and pride reduce you to devaluing another.

Have a heart,

or ask God to give you one.

Don’t admire that

Who is the greatest person you can think of? When you think of them, you want to be like them, or you wish you could meet them, etc. Do you seem to glorify someone in your mind? Perhaps an athlete, pastor, President, or businessman. Whoever they are, they’re really awesome. But is it really a biblical perspective to think so highly of a man?

If we think about it, no matter what "great things" any one person accomplishes, they are not that great. The could never had done any of their work alone. Perhaps someone raised them or paid for their upbringing. Or someone taught them how to study the Word of God. Or the people who served under them were honest and diligent. Or God gave them many talents and a healthy body. Nobody is that amazing.

1 Corinthians 3:21 says, "Let no man glory in men." To be honest, God orchestrates everything. He provides the opportunity. He give the ability. He coordinates everything. All that is left to man is to wait on Him and do His will.

Why would we say, "Oh what a great man! What a hero!" No general can win a battle alone. Every one of his troops that was courageous enough to fight, deserves recognition. The hardworking blacksmith that diligently forged his sword deserves recognition. The general’s mother that instilled good principles and morals, deserves recognition.

But really, let no man glory in men. No accomplishment, no matter how "great" is truly a great thing. Could not God have done it? Why do we place so much esteem in man? We are all only servants. And even when we do what is our duty to do, we can only say, "We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do." (Luke 17:10)

Don’t have such a high opinion of earthly accomplishments. Such a mentality is worldly, wicked, and vain. Yes, it is proper to respect others. And there should always be a healthy respect for those who follow God’s will and demonstrate Godliness, but we must control our admiration. Let us strive to say as Paul said in Galatians 6:14:

"But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world."