Several years ago I was sitting in my church office in Ohio listening to the mom and dad of two students in my student ministry. They had one boy in middle school and one in high school and their quiet and usually reserved middle school son was starting to lash out at home and in school. He was always a kind and generous guy at church and I did notice a few months back that he seemed depressed. The one conversation I had with him was about his parents favoring their older brother because he excelled at sports and was more popular, which he said was a big deal with his former cheerleader mom and jock dad. I took this middle school boy’s words with a grain of salt at the time but sadly his own parents echoed his words with no conviction or shame behind their favoritism in this meeting. They openly admitted that they loved the older son and enjoyed him at home more, often comparing their middle school son to him. However, they were still shocked that their younger son acted the way he did after being treated in this way. This didn’t justify the son’s actions but it did show the consequences of this dangerous sin that we also find in today’s Scripture: favoritism.
Many of us are familiar with the story of Joseph being sold as a slave by his own brothers and we’re heartbroken over this messy family situation. However, we should be just as heartbroken at what Jacob did in favoring his son to help feed that fire of jealousy in his other sons’ hearts.
Our God does not play favorites with his children (Ephesians 6:9, Colossians 3:25).
“For God shows no partiality.” -Romans 2:11
Therefore, we shouldn’t show partiality in life and ministry (James 2:1).
“8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. 9 But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.” –James 2:8-9
However, for many of us we know that this can be easier said than done. Whether it’s because of a clashing of personalities or bitterness/jealousy because of a past experience, it’s easy to like and treat some better than others. It’s also the opposite of the Gospel community that God calls us to which is different than the world. Most people hang and work with others they like or are similar to. This is what makes God’s family different. We are all created equal in God’s image and when saved we are loved just the same as each other as adopted sons and daughters. What Jesus was given in His inheritance is given to us. This can be used powerfully in a dog eat dog, selfish world but we need to intentionally treat others as God would. We see the consequences in today and tomorrow’s scripture when we don’t.
- Are you showing partiality toward anyone that God has placed in your life right now? This could be at work, school, church, or even in your family and friendships?
- How does the Gospel message speak in to this and what do you need to do to right these wrongs in God’s eyes?
By: Erik Koliser