‘I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism.’ 1 Timothy 5:21 (NIV).
Playing favorites is risky business; especially when it is done by leaders. In this passage Paul offers a list of instructions to the young leader, Timothy, which includes not showing favoritism. Any needed discipline or rebuke towards others in the church must be administered without regard to Timothy’s personal inclinations or favoritism.
Likewise, leadership in the church today must be handled with maturity, faithfulness, godliness, and lack of favoritism. The health of a body of believers is far more important than playing favorites with someone who is not meeting the standards set forth by God.
Perhaps we have been witness to others in the church body who are doing the wrong thing, but their offences have been overlooked because they are in good cohorts with the pastor or other leaders. Perhaps we have applied for a church position, feeling confident that God has equipped us to the task, but another is given favor simply because they are friends with those who make the final decision. This is hurtful and undermines our confidence in church leadership and the ethos of equality and fairness that the gospel is built upon.
For those of us who have been injured by favoritism, there is but one response, though it takes the Lord’s help to administer it. Forgiveness. As Jesus was injured by His oppressors, so must we do the same. Jesus clearly states in Luke 6:37, ‘Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.’ This is the response that frees us from all bitterness and criticism and opens the way for us to receive forgiveness from God.
‘Heavenly Father, forgive me for not treating all people equally but showing favor to one above others. This is not your way. Please help me to be fair in all my dealings. Help me to show grace to those I have hurt and also the times when others have hurt me. Help me to treat others in the same way I would want them to treat me.’
In Jesus’ Mighty Name,
And for those of us who have been found guilty of practicing favoritism, let us remember that God does not show favoritism (Romans 2:11) and if we do, it is a sin in His eyes (James 2:9).
To keep favor with God we must cease showing special favor or partiality to another.
Be Greatly Blessed!