Does God Play Favorites?

 

acorns showing partiality

“…Peter opened his mouth and said: “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him” (Acts 10:34-35).

“For the Lord your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons [does not consider one over the other]” (Deuteronomy 10:17).

Did you ever have that one person (or group of people) in your life who seemed to be treated better than everyone else, someone who often left you in teeth-gritting anger? It would seem like, no matter how hard you tried, you could never get the special recognition you felt you deserved—whether at work, at school, or even at home. There seems to have always been that one person or group who got all the extra favors. When I was much younger and going to school, there was almost always a person there who could have his way with the teacher no matter what he did or did not do. People like that were always doing something extra that was ordinarily unnecessary. But, in their case, it would get them special favors or attention from the teacher. The annoying part was that most of us in the class (especially me) could not do the things that they did and get special favors.

Later in my life, when I had been working at a job for some time, some coworkers were allowed to do many things that were against company policies, which were obviously not permissible for me or others to do. I remember one who, many times, would only do half of the required work, and then would chat endlessly with customers, or go take an extra-long smoke break. Was he ever reprimanded? Of course not! He probably could have gone so far as to ask the boss if he (the coworker, not the boss) could leave early, and the boss would let him!

These examples only concern school and work, but favoritism can also be found in all facets of life, all over the world, among all types of people, in all age groups. Some people are regarded as superior because they are of a certain race or skin color. Some are automatically considered superior because of the higher caste that they were born into. Others are favored for their wealth and all that goes with it. Some who have a commanding or persuasive personality will often coerce others into favoring them. Quite a few are favored because of their advanced education. Others gain favor because they have convinced almost everyone that they know everything (even when they don’t). Many are favored due to their taste in fashion. Then there are people who are favored due to their political status or position. Ironically, some are favored because they don’t have any status or position in life at all!

Thankfully, God does not show favoritism—ever. He can’t be partial to any one person or group of people and still love everyone unconditionally.

Some may argue that God sends many people to Hell; therefore, He must like some people more than others. Actually, it is sin that God hates. When a person chooses to sin, never confesses his error, and refuses to repent, that is what will cause him to go to Hell. God loves the sinner, but He never condones the sin he commits. God does not want anyone to go to Hell; it is repeated or continual rejection of Him that results in this final judgment. “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering [patient] to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9 emphasis mine).

When God brings to light various qualities (both positive and negative) in a particular person, He does this as an example for all to see what they should do or not do. There are times when our deeds speak louder than our words. God never intended for that particular person to be favored over another, just his deeds. “And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect [blameless] and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth [abstains from] evil” (Job 1:8)? In this Old Testament verse, God was uplifting Job’s righteousness to Satan, not Job himself. We are all sinners, worthy of death, in God’s eyes.

In our own futile wisdom, we think that if we try hard enough, and make ourselves right enough in God’s eyes, He will like us better than someone else, and will want us to sit at His side in Heaven. This is called self-righteousness, and God never honors it. In fact, He abhors it, because it makes the creation think it is equal to, or greater than, the Creator.

God does not want competition with Himself, or among us. What He really does want is for us to love Him and submit ourselves to Him. When self-righteousness is active, then we are competing among ourselves and favoritism becomes prevalent. When Lucifer, the closest angel to God, (before he sinned against Him and became what we know as the Devil, or Satan) pursued favoritism and self-righteousness, God struck him down out of Heaven permanently. Therefore, how much better can we expect to fare with God if we are cultivating favoritism here on Earth in our own lives? God sees us as one people, not as greater and lesser individuals. Therefore, we can’t look at each other as being either superior or inferior, especially when the standard we base this favoritism on concerns the very individuals and society we exalt or debase. Our standard has to be God’s Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only One that we are to exalt and show favor to. Man will always fail us, no matter how much favor we may show to him, but Jesus will never fail us. Let’s look to Him for our righteousness and not ourselves. Let Him be our favorite and no one else.

–James Pangburn

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