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Touch the untouchables by Deon Crafford

James 2:1-4 My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. 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, 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,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

There is in my view nothing that separates us more from the person and the heart of Christ, than our obsession with exclusivity and class. Throughout His ministry on earth Jesus actively deconstructed social norms and the obsession with elevating people on the basis of their religious fervour – shallow and meaningless as it was. It is almost as though He was deliberately throwing the concept of class back in the face of from whom it came in the first place. James, the half-brother of Jesus, would have witnessed this first hand, although it may even have initially gone against his grain, being a devout Jew. But it was also under his leadership that the Jerusalem Council declared that salvation did not require obedience to the Mosaic Law, but came by grace alone, thus finally breaking the exclusivity and partiality that would have derailed Christianity in its entirety. And yet, it is so prevalent in our world today – not least in the Church – that we need to be held up a mirror by James again and again. Am I guilty of treating people differently based on their wealth, qualifications, outward religious profile or social standing, among others? Are some more acceptable or even lovable than others because they meet standards I have set, solely determined by my whims or agenda? Because let it be made very clear – if based on Jesus Christ there are to be no untouchables. If my faith is real, then my inclusion of people is infinite. Not the inclusion of sin, but the inclusion of souls. That is the heart of Christ.

Love to all