Regarding Scripture: James 2.1-6a, 9
We all have something that we prefer over another. Almost everyone prefers one color over another, one automobile over another, or one News Channel over another. These represent things that we prefer and, to a degree, are representative of favoritism. However, these are benign favorites because no detriment comes from this type of favoritism.
Detrimental favoritism comes when we allow preferences to influence our behavior with others. This type of favoritism is seen in the biblical records of Isaac and Rebekah with their sons Esau and Jacob. Jacob learned improper favoritism from his parents and that, in turn, influenced his behavior with his 12 sons, of which Joseph was favored.
This type of favoritism harmed Isaac’s family relationship and harmed Jacob’s family relationship. Bitterness and hatred are seen existing between Esau and Jacob, and then later among Jacob’s 12 sons. It can be argued that even the great King David had a favorite son – that being Solomon.
Granted, it sometimes is easier, sometimes much easier, for a parent to get along with, communicate, and/or train a certain child. But, how unfortunate it is when a parent or both parents allow this process to develop into a situation of playing favorites with their children.
The ease by which favoritism is practiced means that we have to be always on guard or we will, unfortunately, carry this behavior over into our relationships. If it happens in physical families, it certainly can and will occur in the Family of God.
It is my firm conviction that personal favoritism is not actively sought, it just seems to develop gradually, without notice.
As we are studying James this month, favorites is one of the specific issues that the author addresses.
In my experience with the church, frankly, I have never witnessed the type of favoritism described in James 2.1-4, however, we do still have favoritism. We call it cliques.
We all prefer one group of people, whether it be because of their attitude, humor, style, etc. However, we must realize that this type of behavior is representative of the example given in James.
We are human, and we fail in different aspects of life. But, this week as we gather together, is there anyone in the congregation who is not as easily approachable as another? That is the person you, and I, need to seek out. Seek out and build a healthy relationship with them, so our spiritual family does not suffer the bitterness and hatred experienced in Isaac’s and/or Jacob’s physical family.