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DON’T PLAY FAVORITES

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Take a moment and think about the attributes of God. He is loving, forgiving, merciful, holy, just, righteous, and the list could go on and on. Do you ever think about His impartiality? God is absolutely impartial in His dealings with people. He has stated His love for the whole world and is not willing that any should perish. Deut. 10:17 says, “For the Lord your God is the God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, mighty, and awesome God, showing no partiality and taking no bribe.”

We tend to show partiality by ranking and judging people by predetermined categories such as looks, clothes, social status, intelligence, athletic accomplishment, color of skin, and this list could go on and on as well. All of these are of no significance to God. We can all get star struck with the emphasis on celebrity-ism in our culture. It is amazing how much God speaks about not showing favoritism in the scriptures. Prov. 24:23 says, “These sayings also belong to the wise: It is not good to show partiality in judgment.”

Recently, I met a well know rap star in an airport. As we visited she said, “You don’t know who I am, do you?” I had to admit that I did not have a clue who she was and apologized. She responded, “No, actually it is kind of nice!” She was enjoying someone visiting with her as a person of worth not because of her fame or music career. It was kind of funny. She also said to me, “Well, you really don’t look like someone who is into rap anyway!” Then she laughed.

James 2:1 makes it clear, “My brothers, do not show favoritism as you hold on to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ.” There are two things here that are incompatible: “My brothers” and “Favoritism.” Those two things are contradictory because favoritsm is when we lift someone up above others; judging them by appearance and on that basis giving them special favor and respect. It is the practice of giving unfair preferential treatment to one person or group at the expense of another!

Favoritism is judging purely on a superficial basis without consideration of a person’s true merits, abilities, or character. In Rom. 2:10 Paul said, “but glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does what is good, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek. There is no favoritism with God.” Then there was the big ah-ha moment for Peter in Acts 10:34-35, “Now I really understand that God doesn’t show favoritism, but in every nation the person who fears Him and does righteousness is acceptable to Him.”

Jesus did not show favoritism! It made no difference to Him whether He spoke to the wealthy or a beggar, the virtuous or a prostitute, educated or ignorant, religious or irreligious, a law-abiding citizen or a criminal. His focus was on the worth of every individual and his over-riding concern was their souls. God’s impartiality is in His family tree as evidenced by Rahab the harlot and in where He was raised. “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”

Grace Hills Church in NW Arkansas has a web page that says, “We don’t care how you’re dressed, how many tattoos you have, or who you’re voting for in 2016. We’re a church full of broken, imperfect people with every kind of story imaginable, and we’re saving a seat for you!” I love it! In Mark 2:17 Jesus said, “Those who are well don’t need a doctor, but the sick do need one. I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Is your church saving a seat for the broken and hurting with their habits and hang-ups?

Here is how we must apply these truths:

  • You cannot bribe, buy, or earn your way into heaven! Jesus is the only way, truth, and life! You are saved by grace through faith and whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved. It is by grace alone, faith alone, and in Christ alone!
  • Prejudice has no place in the church of the living God! The old song says it well, “Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight!” If the church doors are not open to receive all then they should be closed for good!
  • Your value does not decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth! God sees your worth. He gave you life and sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for you so that you could have eternal life.
  • Your talents and giftedness have the potential to take you farther than your character can sustain you! Focus first on who you are and then work on what you do. Remember, what you do does not define you because God looks at the heart.
  • Man was not made to be worshiped! Many have succumbed to listening to the praise of those around them and it causes them to think more highly of themselves than they should think. The celebrity-ism of our culture is bleeding over into churches and we must be very careful.

“The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:18-19