Title: The Sin of Partiality
Teacher: Jacob Bender
Date: June 27, 1013
Description: James chapter 2:1-13 is all about the sin of partiality in the church, and the fate of a person who shows no mercy. See the blog post below.
Key Scriptures: James 2:1-13, Galations 5:6, Matthew 7:15-16, Galations 5:13-14, Matthew 22:37-38, Matthew 18:21-35,
There are many commentaries on the book of James. The one listed here by Thomas Manton is available on kindle for $2, and was used some in preparing the history of the book of James.
by Jacob Bender
"In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth."-Colossians 3:7-8
When I wrapped up this teaching and I watched back on how I had communicated everything, I was relatively happy with the presentation in general considering how awkward it can feel to teach in that great white room for the first time. The thing that I was not so happy with was the conclusion. I felt like I was able to point out a problem that I had faced and I think many people that will watch this will be able to relate and connect to grudges in their own lives. I think we will all find ourselves pointing out things that need to change, but the one thing that I did not communicate very well is "how do I change?"
I told of a story of, how out of loyalty to one man, I ruled out another because I had felt that he sinned against the pastor that I was very loyal to. I spoke of how I could not understand how someone could hold a grudge against someone that would go so deep that you would dedicate your time to being a witness of that persons destruction as an example of what it means to hold a grudge, and in doing so I realized that the same type of bitterness had creeped into my life and I had to let it go. But how do we let these things go?
Two chapters after the one we studied, in James 4:1, he says "What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?"
Passionate people have the hardest time letting go of things. It is in our DNA to remember. But don't kid yourself into believing that you are going to be able to step into your calling and fuel all of your passion toward anything great if you can't work out the war that is going on inside of you. God can use you no matter what, your calling is irrevocable (Romans 11:29) as Dawn talked about on Creative Vision Night, but bitterness can still destroy your desire to walk in that calling. I can say this from personal experience, as I have watched in my own life the indifferences that have taken root in my everyday walk with God because of an unsettled debt that I have had. Even in the church, something could take place that I don't agree with and before I know it I have found myself in moments when I literally don't care if that thing succeeds or fails (or worse, hope it fails) because I am upset about the course that was taken.. which makes no sense because we all move forward when the church succeeds. I am trying to speak openly about this because I know with complete certainty that everybody deals with it though so few have spoken up. Speaking up is the point! And real examples of lives that have been stained with this junk is the easiest way to show you that we all go through it.
Mark 11:25 says "And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
It is very important that in our hearts, we let go. Only Jesus can make the hurt go away, but harboring it will keep you from God and that is why Mark says that when you find yourself praying, at that moment you must forgive anyone of all the wrong that they have done to you. Give it to God.
The next step is a little harder, but just as necessary.
“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector."
"So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift."
We need to go to the person. If we fail to do Matthew 18:15 and go to them when they sin against us, then we will end up needing to do what Matthew 5:23-24 says and go to them, because if we don't confront the issue it will harbor, and then we are the ones sinning against them. In the situation I referenced in the message, I sent an email to the man essentially just apologizing that out of loyalty for one person, I completely ruled out another and allowed myself to discredit years of ministry that was done because of what I saw happen. Though for some time I felt like it was him who had sinned, I am not the one who can judge his heart and if I am going to judge it at all, I need to err on the side of mercy, for like James says "Judgement is without mercy to him who shows no mercy." But I am accountable for my actions, and for the stuff that I harbored in my heart toward him, I apologized. His response was more than gracious, and though we likely will never see each other again, I believe that relationship was restored.
This can be very hard, its not easy to do, but its the difference between being free and carrying a weight that you were not created to carry. Carrying it will leave you off balance and jacked up, and bitterness will change your desire to do good no matter what your call may be. Give it to God. Confess it to your brother or sister, and live your life in love.
I leave you with John 15:12 "“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you." It is impossible to love one another while carrying bitterness toward them. The process can be brutal, but you were called to freedom, and this is the only way to get it.