A Seat at the Table
Written by: Amanda Biro
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Yes indeed, it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the Scriptures:
"Love your neighbor as yourself.”
- James 2:8
Imagine it’s your first day at a new job. You turn the door knob to enter into your new adventure and you realize your clammy hands. You quickly wipe them off to hide any evidence of nerves. You take a deep breath and walk inside. You introduce yourself to everyone, but no one seems to care that you are there. No one invites you to eat lunch with them, so you sit by yourself and watch everyone laugh and talk together. You spend the rest of the day feeling isolated, and wondering why people would treat you like this, just because you are new.
We’ve all been in situations like this, where we feel like we don’t fit in, that people are treating us poorly and are favoring others. We all have preconceived notions and prejudices about each other. Whether intentional or subconscious, these biases can be dangerous, and impact how we treat others. This behaviour can feel alienating and makes us feel like we don’t belong. This is not what the kingdom of God looks like. We all belong, we all matter, and we are all welcome.
James 2:2-4 gives us a great example of the dangers of this behaviour. It says “If a man enters your church wearing an expensive suit, and a street person wearing rags comes in right after him, and you say to the man in the suit, “Sit here, sir; this is the best seat in the house!” and either ignore the street person or say, “Better sit here in the back row,” haven’t you segregated God’s children and proved that you are judges who can’t be trusted” (MSG).
I love this passage because it reminds us that we are not God. It is not our job to judge and decide who gets a seat at the table. We are called to love everyone, and treat people as God’s creation regardless of our assumptions about them.
We need to treat all people with dignity and respect as bearers of God’s image (Genesis 1:27), regardless of who the world may tell us they are. I encourage you to look out for those who are on the margins, or for those who feel like outsiders. Welcome them, befriend them, and remind them that they are loved by God.
1. What are some negative judgments you have about people in your life?
2. How can you challenge those judgments to love people better?
3. How can you help people to feel like they belong in the kingdom of God?
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for this day. Thank You for creating us, each in your image. Thank You for giving us all strengths to contribute to Your kingdom. Help me to seek out people who may feel like they are on the outside. Help me to welcome them and to show them what Your love looks like. Thank You for loving me and for always being here for me. Amen.
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