For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?
What was happening here? Some in the church were treating rich people better than poor people. They were assigning more value to the rich people and giving them preferential treatment. They were making a judgment that one was superior based on the amount of money they had. Those who dressed like the upper class got the good seats, while the others were pushed aside.
But judgment of any kind is not our place, but God’s. We are not to have respect of persons—that is, to value one above another based on some arbitrary characteristic. But we kind of do that all the time, and it’s not just based on rich versus poor. We are willing to see people as “less than” for many different reasons. Maybe it’s Christian versus non-Christian. Maybe it’s race or gender or age or some physical characteristic.
But we do not have the right to assign worth to people. Everyone is made in God’s image. Every individual person has value. God loves each and every one without discrimination. And so we, as God’s people especially, shouldn’t favor one over the other, but love each one as God does, because that is what He calls us to. So much of the teaching of Christ revolves around our interactions with other people. And that always starts with love, compassion, humility, and kindness.
There is no hierarchy of people in God’s eyes. He created every person. We are all born as sinners, but He loves us still. We are all different, but we each have a place in His world and in His plan. Let’s leave the judging to God and simply be willing to love people. Let’s not rank rich above poor, but recognize that everyone has a value that goes beyond those outer characteristics. No matter how much people have or how much they don’t have, they all need Jesus. No matter who they are, they need a Savior. And no matter who we are, we are not above anybody else.