• Jack Selcher

What Is Wrong with Favoritism?

Favoritism is elevating a person or group at the expense of another person or group. It’s as widespread as weeds. It’s a problem in the church. Favoritism contradicts your faith. God judges it. That may surprise you.

Even Jesus’ enemies acknowledged that He didn’t play favorites (Matthew 22:16). You possess Jesus’ life and represent Him in the world. Favoritism contradicts His life in you. It misrepresents Him to the world.

Evil intentions motivate favoritism. Suppose two Christians walk into your church as the worship service is beginning. Only two seats remain. One is a good seat toward the front. The other is in a very undesirable location. One is the richest man in town. The other is barely eking out a living on his small farm. There are lots of reasons to give the wealthy man the best seat. He’d be a huge financial asset to the church. He’d improve its reputation in the community. By comparison, the poor man could do neither. Giving the rich man the best seat because of his wealth is favoritism.

Mostly poor people composed the early church. They weren’t really poor. God has chosen them to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom (verse 5). The account of the rich ruler (Mark 10:17–27) suggests a reason for God’s choice. Money was more important to the rich ruler than God was. Many rich people are just like him. God chooses the foolish, weak, and lowly of this world so that no one may boast before Him (1 Corinthians 1:26–29). Favoring the rich over the poor despises those God honors.

God judges favoritism without mercy. Favoritism isn’t a social blunder. It’s a sin. It breaks the command to love your neighbor as yourself. It makes you as much a lawbreaker as stealing your neighbor’s money. “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it” (James 2:10, NIV).

You probably can’t relate to the stumbling at just one point part. I know I can’t. You belong to the “stumble in many ways” crowd (James 3:2). Even if you had a 99% average in law-keeping, you’d still be classified as a lawbreaker. The law is like a seamless garment. To tear it slightly or to rip it to shreds flaws the garment. The law expresses God’s character and will. He prohibits adultery, murder, and favoritism. Through all of them you break the royal law by not loving your neighbor as yourself.

God will judge your speech and actions (verse 12) against the standard of “love your neighbor as yourself.” He’ll reward you based on what you’ve done to help meet others’ needs. He’ll judge without mercy those who pass judgment on others without mercy.

Your mission is to reflect Jesus. He’s healed you to bring healing to others. He loves you despite your sins. He commands you to love others despite their imperfections. He doesn’t give you what you deserve. He challenges you to not give others what they deserve. He bestows grace and forgiveness. You’re to pass both on to others. Favoritism spoils Jesus’ reflection in the pool of your life.

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See the free spiritual resources at: https://www.christiangrowthresources.com

You may freely access my books, “Becoming an Enthusiastic Church” and “His Power for Your Weakness” at:

https://www.christiangrowthresources.com/becoming-an-enthusiastic-church and


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