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? - James 2:5
When we judge others, we are essentially putting ourselves in God’s place. We are grabbing ahold of His sovereignty for ourselves. When we show favor to anyone based on their outside appearance, we are making assumptions about their hearts that only God can see or know. We see people who are wealthy and it’s easy to make the assumption that they are doing something right in their lives and God is blessing them; and likewise, we see people who struggle financially, and we assume they must be doing something wrong and God is punishing them or allowing them to walk through difficult trials. There is great wickedness in judging others. We are warned multiple time in scripture that we are not to judge others.
At the same time, we should not misunderstand this verse to mean that God only shows favor to the poor. So, why does James say that God has chosen the poor to be rich in faith? Clearly James is not teaching that only poor men can find salvation and God passes over the rich. We know there is no inherent value in simply being poor - God does not call us to a life of poverty.
What is true, however, is that having wealth can distract us from our need for a Savior. We can become self-sufficient in our wealth, and think we can manage on our own. Our culture exalts the rich, so we have a tendency to receive feed our egos with that exaltation. On the other hand, when we are poor, we are more likely to rely on Him because we have been humbled. Since all financial and materialistic distractions have been removed from our lives, we are in a place more likely to see and receive His grace.
In the end, though, it comes down to what’s in a man’s heart, and not what’s in his wallet. To judge a man based on outward appearances is great sin because it puts us in the place of judge. And that is never our place, only His.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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