How do we miss it? Are we really that deceived? That prideful?
We have been shown mercy. God has not judged us at 'face value', by what we we've done or what we look like. We have been loved.
The result should read something like this:
We show mercy. We do not judge people at 'face value', by what they've done or what they look like. We love.
If the above statement isn't true about you or me, if it isn't true about the church, then my hypothesis is this: we have taken mercy for granted. We don't believe that God really does look past our deeds and our 'face'. We don't really believe in or understand what His love is or its implications in our life. Either that or we're just plain hypocrites and Pharisees.
James' admonition, secondo me, to not show favoritism isn't about tacking on one more thing not to do, one more chain or shackle. It is ALL about understanding, believing and living the truth that we have been shown mercy, that we are accepted for who we are and that we have been loved. If that penetrates, permeates, germinates, then and only then will we live and love as we should, looking past the external and seeing the intrinsic value of each and every person around us.
What kind of world would that be?