My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. 2 For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, 3 and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” 4 have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 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? 6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? 7 Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called? 8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. 9 But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it. 11 For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. 13 For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
1. In your world, who are the shiny people you are drawn to, and who are the shabby people you avoid?
2. Where in your life do you have poverty? Can you see and believe God is working there? Do you ever miss God’s work in your life because you are aspiring for shiny things and shiny people?
3. Who do you struggle to see as your neighbor?
4. How have you been made to feel that you don’t fit? What do you need to do differently to show dignity and honor to everyone you come across?
5. Is ‘mercy’ one of the first words you think of to describe God’s stance toward you? How does your answer to that question impact the way you treat others?
6. How can you as a community group and we as a church better communicate mercy to everyone and anyone who might visit us?