I Do Not Want To Be Fair To Everyone; Who Does?
“I like being partial to whatever and whoever I want,” Ed my old friend in Saskatchewan said yesterday. He also added that he did not love every neighbor as himself only the ones that deserved his love. He had asked what I was writing about, and I had said the sin of partiality. My old neighbor believes showing unfair favoritism is precisely what happens in real life.
We do have lots of things that we are partial to or we like them best, which is no problem until we get to thinking that we are God, and what we like is what God likes too. It is one thing to like peaches better than pears but is another thing to dislike anyone who prefers pears to peaches. Partiality is showing unfair bias in favor of one thing or person compared with another. Few tend to see a danger in showing favoritism, seldom feeling that it could become a harmful habit.
The Bible is clear about how God considers partiality. In Deuteronomy, we read: “For the Lord, your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.”
In the early church, James warned the Christians to not show partiality to people who came to worship. A rich man should not be favored over a poor man. To show partiality was a sin because it was breaking the commandment of God to love one’s neighbor as oneself. No one likes to be dismissed as unworthy of respect and honor because they are too poor, too old, too young, a foreigner, etc.
Perhaps we personally like to be favored, even unfairly, but we do not like it when we are ignored or rejected as unworthy of the slightest respect because people are biased against us for their own reasons.
Ed said that we all have our reasons to dislike someone or something. I agreed with him, but I said we must decide if our ideas are fair or unfair. Do our reasons reflect how we would like to be treated if we were the other person? When Jesus was on earth, he did not merely heal his own people but those who were not Jewish as well. God knew that all have sinned and fall short of being perfect and he sent Jesus as a Savior for sinners or everyone. Jesus died for those who liked him and those who hated him. God brought about his reconciliation with sinners through Jesus because they needed it and could not accomplish it with their own efforts.
God’s love is centered in the truth that we are all sinners who need God’s forgiveness and help, to treat others as we would like to be treated with fairness. James warned the early church that its members needed to humble themselves before God and that only God is judge and able to save and destroy. He directs, “Do not speak evil against one another… who are you to judge your neighbor?