James 2:1-13

Every person has equal value

1 My Christian friends, you must be kind to everyone. You trust the Lord Jesus Christ, who is great in heaven. So, do not think that anyone is more valuable than any other person.

2 When you are meeting together as believers, maybe two men will come to join with you. One of them is wearing beautiful clothes, and he has gold rings on his hands. The other man is poor, and he is wearing old clothes that are dirty. 3 You are kind to the man who is wearing beautiful clothes. You say to him, ‘Please sit here in this good place.’ But you say to the poor man, ‘Go and stand over there.’ Or you may say to him, ‘Sit on the floor near my feet.’ 4 If you do that, you are thinking bad thoughts. You have decided that one person among you is better than another person. You must not do that.

5 My Christian friends, listen to me. God has chosen to bless people who are poor in this world. He has helped them to trust him. So really they are rich. God will give to them a place in his kingdom. He has promised to do that for all people who love him. 6 But you have not been kind to the poor people. You have caused them to feel ashamed. Who causes you to have troubles? It is the rich people! They are the people who want the judges to punish you. 7 It is the rich people who speak bad things against the good name of Jesus Christ. And you are called Christians because you belong to him.

2:7Every Christian is important to God. If we have money and good clothes, that does not make us better than people who are poor. God has chosen poor people to show us that his love is better than money or good clothes. We should be kind to everyone, poor people and rich people. God wants us to love other people, whoever they are. That will show that we love him.

8 But the message of God's kingdom is this: ‘Love other people as much as you love yourself.’ That is what the Bible says. If you really do that, you do well. 9 But if you are kind to some people and you are not kind to others, then you are doing a bad thing. God's Law shows that you are wrong. 10 Even if you fail to obey only one rule in God's Law, it means that you are guilty. It is the same as if you do not obey all God's Law. 11 For example, God has said in his Law, ‘You must not have sex with anyone who is not your husband or your wife.’ But God has also said, ‘Do not kill another person.’ Perhaps you do not have sex in a wrong way like that. But if you then murder someone, God's Law shows that you are still wrong.

12 Remember that God will judge you one day. When he does that, he will use a law which makes us free. So, remember that in everything that you say and in everything that you do. 13 God will not forgive anyone who has not forgiven other people. But God is kind! He judges us, but even more than that, he forgives us!