God Hates Favoritism
Favoritism: A Life-Long Struggle
When I was in grade school and high school It was definitely apparent that people were divided into at least two groups. There were the popular students who seemed to have it all. However, their popularity was not necessarily because they were nice people. It usually was because of one or more less than honorable reasons. Reasons such as being good looking, athletic or both. Sometimes it was because their parents were rich or they themselves had some kind of special skill that everyone admired.
Then there were the unpopular students that didn't have any of the things that the popular students had or attributes that many thought were valuable. They had skills of course, but none that stuck out in a way that put them on the level of the "special" people. Many times they were the quiet unobtrusive kids that didn't get invited to parties. And heaven forbid that they would stick out in the area of academics. They would get a reputation from this alright. However, it would not be in a good way. Then they'd be known as nerds and geeks.
Many times the "popular" kids would pick on or talk badly about the "unpopular" girls and boys. But the worst thing was when they looked down in disgust on these "inferior" beings or totally ignored them, walking right passed them to be with those on their level. Favoritism was rampant in childhood.
When I was growing up I always thought that this inequity, though horrible, was caused by the immaturity of the kids I went to school with. I thought that one of the best things about being grown up was that this type of childish behavior would soon be over.
Well, as I grew out of my youthful idealism and ignorance, it became clear to me that I was wrong.
I. Favoritism is Part of the Sin Nature
Little did I know that when I entered adulthood, favoritism and discrimination would continue. It may not be as blatant most of the time. It usually comes out in more subtle ways. However, this sin is alive and well and permeates our society, like a cancer destroying us all.
Let me make something very clear. God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34; Deuteronomy 10:17; Romans 2:11). He does not play favorites. The Lord loves all His creatures created in His image. And if you are not familiar with Scripture, that includes all human beings (Genesis 1:27).
Unfortunately, Adams's sin separated us from God and has tainted all of our relationships. The old sinful nature, which all men have, tends to be selfish and self-centered. And we want to hang around the "special" people of the world because it makes us look and feel special ourselves. On the other hand, we tend to look down on others that we believe are beneath us in some way.
However, the Christian has been given a new nature by faith in Jesus Christ. II Corinthians 5:17 tells us: "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come." We no longer are slaves to the old nature. And as new creatures, we should never let favoritism be a part of our lives.
II. James on Favoritism
The book of James has much to say about this very subject. James says in his epistle:
"My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism. For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, “You sit here in a good place,” and you say to the poor man, “You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives? Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally drag you into court? Do they not blaspheme the fair name by which you have been called?
If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not commit murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but do commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment" (2:1-13).
It is so clear in this passage that God wants us to love and respect everyone. The Christian must be different from the world around him and treat everyone like the image of almighty God that they are.
It was Ralph Waldo Emerson who said: "Every man I meet is in some way my superior; and in that I can learn of him." What a wonderful way to look at life and at other people. If we take the time to get to know others, we will find that they indeed have a lot to teach us. People are as different as snowflakes. There is none that is exactly like the other.
Lets not spend our lives avoiding a large portion of the human race just because they don't meet our expectations or don't think or act exactly like we do. Lets not overlook people because they don't measure up to the beauty standards that we have placed upon them.
God does not play favorites, and neither should we. Favoritism should never be even named amongst Christians. Let us rid ourselves of it forever!