But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. (James 2:9)

For years, Jeff had thought that elevated blood pressure was a minor symptom he’d have to deal with in exchange for a few extra pounds. This condition ran in his family, so it didn’t seem so bad. But Dr. Ridley told Jeff, “There’s a shopping list of symptoms that go with carrying too much weight. For most people, one symptom feeds another over time. Too much weight makes you more susceptible to diabetes, which can make you more susceptible to high blood pressure, which can make you more susceptible to kidney damage. They can come to you in any order. If you’re prone to one, you could easily have all three—and none of them are any fun.”

The early church was familiar with the sin of favoritism. It probably didn’t seem like a big issue to prefer wealthy believers over the poorer members of the local fellowship, but James made it a point to clarify that favoritism should be considered as damaging as murder or adultery. Sin was sin, and could fragment relationships in whatever form it took.

Regardless of one’s family history high blood pressure, diabetes, and kidney damage alike need to be taken seriously. One symptom can be as bad as the next. In like manner one kind of sin that seems to be “minor”—in this case favoritism—can be just as harmful as another.

Ask God to help you eliminate a “minor” sin from your life.

Steve Wamberg is a husband, dad, writer, and pastor who loves preaching, teaching, music, coffee, and Nebraska football.

© 2018 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.