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.