James 2:1-4 (GWT)
"My brothers and sisters, practice your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ by not favoring one person over another. For example, two men come to your worship service. One man is wearing gold rings and fine clothes; the other man, who is poor, is wearing shabby clothes. Suppose you give special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say to him, 'please have a seat.' But you say to the poor man, 'stand over there,' or 'sit on the floor at my feet.' Aren't you discriminating against people and using a corrupt standard to make judgments?"
One would think that finding discrimination in the Body of Christ would be a rare event, if it were found at all. It is the shame of all Christians that nothing could be further from the truth. I have witnessed the brand of discrimination James is describing here and I have experienced it first hand. Many of our church leaders today seem to have decided that a large, financially independent congregation is far preferable to a small or even medium sized, middle class or poor congregation. And the idea of combining all of these people into one congregation seems never to enter their minds and the idea would most likely be repulsive to them anyway. Once, as a member of a "mega-church", I heard the pastor inform the congregation that "this church is for the wealthy and the younger up and comers, the blue collar workers and the poor will come but they will either leave because they are uncomfortable or we will teach them to get rich and join us." I heard a lot of discriminatory statements come from that same pulpit and needless to say I'm no longer a member of that congregation and I haven't been for a very long time. To this pastor and to other church leaders who may feel as he does I want to say, "How dare you"? How dare you take the things of God, the promises of God and the hope and love of God and turn them into deception and lies. How dare you twist these things to make them sound as if they are only meant for the rich and "perfect" of this world? You will answer to Him for what you have done.
And to the rest of you I say; don't let this kind of discrimination within the church turn you away from Jesus. This type of acting and thinking is not God's will and those who teach it are wrongly teaching and wrongly dividing the Word of God. Don't allow them to steal the joy you have found in your Savior. And certainly do not practice discrimination yourselves. Open your heart and accept all whom God sends to you, regardless of who they are, where they come from, what they look like or how much or how little money they may have. Remember that ALL are precious in His sight and we are all His most beloved children.