Photo by Ambro at www.freedigitalphotos.net
Do you know what the word favoritism means in Greek? Yeah, neither did I until Bible study this week. The word for favoritism used in James 2 means "to lift the face".
In the ancient world, when you entered the throne room of a king, you lay prostrate upon the floor with your face upon the ornamented tile. You did not dare lift your face until the king indicated that he would like you to do so. If you looked upon the king without invitation he could kill you for the insult. And thus the word favoritism, to lift the face. People come into our lives all the time. They want to be a part of our world for whatever reason and we have a choice to make. Do we lift their faces or do we leave them laying on the floor? Favoritism is to life the face of one, and not another.
James 2:1, 8-9a--"My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don't show favoritism...If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, 'Love your neighbor as yourself,' you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin..."
It makes it all seem so different seeing the root of the word. When my little guys are following me around the kitchen wanting to show me a bug or load the dishwasher with all the cups upside down, or spend some time sword fighting together, they have placed their hearts upon the floor before me for just a moment. Will I stop and lift the face of one and not the other, just because I have gotten tired throughout the day? And what about when someone needs to borrow my computer, or I have unexpected dinner guests, or someone needs to talk and it is past my bedtime?
Thank you Lord for the beautiful complexity of your Words. Please supply us with the grace to obey them.