Just Reprehensible Or Sin?

A number of events have convinced me that such an article, as this is timely and needful. A preacher (?) was convicted of racial murders that occurred in Mississippi several years ago. The first trials were conducted in an atmosphere so filled with prejudice that a fair trial was not held when the perpetrators were first arrested. The second event was persecution of a family of Middle Eastern people who were judged by some of their neighbors to be worthy of persecution although they were appalled by the terrorism of others who shared their ethnicity. They themselves had been born to emigrants and had lived all their lives in the United States. The third thing happened nearby in a rural community. A Hispanic family who lived in an area where they were considered to be outsiders went away for a brief vacation. When they returned their home, furniture and belongings were destroyed and swastikas and racist messages were painted all over the place. One of the worst things about events such as these is that many of the guilty ones consider themselves to be Christians. It is more easily understood if the people who have such attitudes and do such things are just pure evil and admittedly follow Satan.

The scriptures teach, “If you fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself, ye do well. But if ye have respect of persons, ye commit sin, and are convicted of the law as transgressors. For whoever shall keep the whole law and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” James 2:8-10

In His personal ministry, Christ tried to attack the attitude of looking down on others. “Love your neighbor as yourself” is the royal law because our King stated it. He subtly included it in the parable we call the Parable of the Good Samaritan because the Jews had such a prejudiced attitude toward the Samaritans. And yet, in the parable Christ used, the Samaritan was the hero and the priest and Levite were the bad boys.

James said, “If you have respect of persons you commit sin.” It isn’t just something we shouldn’t do or something that is a minor failing, it is sin. Sin is what separates us from God. Sin is what causes us to be everlastingly lost.

The qualities of love, agape, described in I Corinthians 13 are to be practiced toward all. If we don’t, we are said to speak as a sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal. Even though we make huge sacrifices and have great knowledge, without that love we are nothing in God’s sight. Another sobering thought is that how we treat others, all others, is accepted by Christ as treatment of Him.

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