Through His Eyes

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, March 10, 2019 2 comments

by Logan Ames

How many judgments have you made about other people already today? I’m serious. Just take a moment to stop and think about it. Even if you haven’t left your house yet or truly interacted with anyone else in person, chances are you've already seen something on Facebook, some other social media outlet, or even the news for which you’ve judged the participants. This happens even when we don’t even know the people, and I’d argue it happens especially then. A few months ago, someone close to my family experienced one of the worst tragedies imaginable with the accidental death of their child. It was ruled accidental by the coroner, investigated by the police, and confirmed that no one was negligent or at fault. Yet, as soon as the story hit the news media and was subsequently shared on Facebook, everybody and their brother had an opinion about what the parents should have done differently or how they could have prevented the tragedy. Truth be told, I’ve probably had those similar thoughts about people in those circumstances in the past. I’ve made judgments based on seeing a very little part of the picture. But when I was on the other side and KNEW that the people didn’t deserve what was being said about them, it was easy for me to see how quickly most of us make judgments.

In the Bible, James understood that the Christians who were part of the early Church were susceptible to the same faulty thinking that they could accurately judge others with such a small portion of the big picture that God sees. In James 2:1, he writes, “My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism." So, he’s talking about not only making a judgment but also choosing to treat others based on the judgment that is made. But there are a couple important things to point out here. James uses the phrase “glorious Lord Jesus Christ” to remind these earliest Christians that the one they follow is actually the glory of God himself who came down and revealed himself in the flesh. It was a clear reminder that they are not following or worshiping a mere prophet or great human teacher, but the One who WAS actually God (John 1:1).

It’s also gigantic that James reminds these people that favoritism, or partiality, cannot co-exist with faith in Jesus as God. Jesus often spoke to and welcomed those who were outcasts in the eyes of everyone else, such as “tax collectors and sinners” (Matthew 9:9-10). The reason James brings it up is because he wrote to a largely partial audience that had no problem favoring some over others. We know this by following the steps of the early apostles through the Book of Acts. Peter was one of the leaders and he was certainly born again and sold out for Christ. Then, all of a sudden one day, he is praying to God and falls into a trance, during which God challenges his long-held convictions regarding what is “clean” versus “unclean." After that, he meets a man named Cornelius who, though a Gentile and unclean in the eyes of Jews, is a devout, God-fearing man (Acts 10:2). Peter, having had his world of fake religion completely shattered, enters Cornelius’ home and reminds everyone that Jewish law prohibits from him associating with Gentiles, but that he is doing so because God had shown him that he cannot pre-judge anyone to be impure or unclean (Acts 10:28). After he hears Cornelius’ testimony of how God has been speaking to him, Peter declares, “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism, but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right” (Acts 10:34-35). This chapter is known as “the conversion of Cornelius," but many people realize that Peter also experienced a conversion here. He was no longer at odds with his faith, showing favoritism toward Jews over Gentiles, yet claiming to follow a God who welcomes all who are truly seeking Him.

At this point, Peter had already been on fire for Jesus. He had performed miracles by the name and power of Jesus. He had urged the Jewish leaders to repent and be baptized, and he preached a sermon that led to some 3,000 people believing in Jesus. He spoke the gospel boldly and even experienced flogging for his efforts. Yet, despite all of this, he still couldn’t see MEAT through God’s eyes, let alone other human beings that were Gentiles. Before the Church could really begin to grow and spread out from Jerusalem, any seeds of favoritism within the apostles and other early Christians had to be dug up and destroyed. James knew this was the crowd he was writing to in his letter.

Then, he gives them a perfect example of how they might show favoritism without even realizing it. In James 2:2-4, he explains that when they all meet together and they offer a wealthy person a much better seat than an obviously poor person, they “become judges with evil thoughts." We see more evidence that James is talking to mainly Jews here when we look at the Greek word for “meeting," which happens to be sunagogen, which happens to be where we get the word “synagogue." Even if they had to meet in houses due to lack of buildings, they still referred to their gathering as the synagogue. Apparently, in those days paying more attention to the wealthy than the poor was quite common. But who are we kidding? It’s common now too, especially in churches. I once had a pastor tell me that we SHOULD treat those who give a lot of money to the church with greater respect than others. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. But I’m sure that is a temptation for many pastors as we are all human. I have to work hard to make sure my mind doesn’t start playing those games.

Ultimately, the reason many Jews treated the rich better than the poor is the same reason so many Americans treat the rich better - we might get something from them. Chances are, there’s nothing an extremely poor person can give back to you. John Bunyon once said, “You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you." This is one of the true marks of following Jesus. He never focused on getting paid back, He never avoided Gentiles, strangers, or unclean people, and He didn’t show favoritism toward the rich.

The reason we all fall into the traps like the earliest church did is because we judge based only on what we can SEE, not the eternal work that God is doing. We have a hard time seeing the big picture like God does, and we focus way too much on what we can evaluate based on the outward appearance. Well, in the Old Testament, the prophet Samuel had to learn that lesson too. He was told, “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7). The bottom line for any of us who claim to follow Jesus is that we MUST learn to see past what’s right in front of us and trust in God’s big picture and His perfect plan. We MUST ask God to give us clarity and wisdom as people come into our lives. We must seek Him and ask Him to help us see others through His eyes rather than our own warped, incomplete view of things. If you reflect on this and find that you have been unintentionally treating someone poorly according to the ways you have already judged their outward appearance, ask God to destroy seeds of favoritism and prejudice in your heart and plant seeds of love and a welcome spirit to all who seek Him.

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Logan, an excellent and thoughtful post. I am sharing it with my readers at as one of the best posts I have read this week.

Logan Ames said...


Thanks so much for your thoughts and encouragement. James gives the Church so much practical wisdom that still applies today!