By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
Of the many things that Jesus taught, He consistently urged us to judge each situation based on its own merits. We should not show preference or bias by assuming or treating anyone more/less important than anyone else. And with good reason: if we show partiality when judging a situation, we are possibly excusing good or justifying evil.
James 2:9 (ESV): But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.
We see examples of Jesus trying to break this habit by continually using the most esteemed of professions in a less than favorable light. At the same time, Jesus would exalt those who the people would rather have nothing to do with. We see the parable of the Good Samaritan exhibiting all of these characteristics (Luke 10:25-37). The Jews were known to dislike the Samaritans to the point they would not even speak to them in passing. That is why the parable of the Good Samaritan is so powerful. A Jew was beaten/robbed and left for dead, when a priest and Levite did not stop to help to him (vs. 31-32). It was not until the least likely person to help a Jew came by, that he received the care that he needed.
John 7:24 (ESV): Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.
It would not be difficult to imagine the outrage that many people felt as Jesus appeared to be attacking the most esteemed in His parables. But it was not only in His parables that He would speak against the evil committed by the scribes and teachers of the law.
Mark 12:38-40 (NKJV): Then He said to them in His teaching, “Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts, who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.”
Jesus understood the problem of the people excusing sin if they considered the person to be in a prestigious position. He also understood the problem of condemning a person because they were a Samaritan, tax collector, or any position people felt was less than ethical. We should not find ourselves judging any situation without the evidence and we surely should not judge innocence or guilt based on our preconceived notions. Whether those notions have us correct some or most of the time, God shows no partiality (Romans 2:11).