Wednesday, June 1, 2016
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Did you ever notice what great scorekeepers kids are? They are really adept at measuring how they're being treated compared to the other kids in the family, right? Our oldest child was followed about two years later by her younger brother. It was our son who introduced me to this scorekeeping aptitude that children have. He had this simple 4-word question. "How come my sister...?" Which would always be followed with his presentation of some perceived injustice in how we were treating him compared to how we were treating his sister. She apparently got something good that he didn't get or he got something bad that she didn't get. When I was on a trip, I sure thought twice when I was buying gifts for my children. I knew that any hint of favoritism could get me in big trouble.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about "Playing Favorites, Playing Fair."
In reality, the concern that our son was verbalizing is a concern that bothers a lot of us long after we've grown up and it has to do with that nasty little frustrater called favoritism.
Which is what God warns us against in our word for today from the Word of God from 1 Timothy 5:21. God is giving rules for rulers, guidelines for governing. The principles apply to anyone with a leadership role, and I'll bet you've got one-a parent, a pastor, a teacher, a supervisor, an employer. It is a powerful principle of maintaining peaceful relationships. God says, "I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels (this is like, Hey this is really important what I'm about to say!) to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism."
Well, that kind of governing is consistent with the way God does it. Romans 2:11 tells us that "God does not show favoritism." He gives out discipline and rewards with total impartiality. So should we. God is no respecter of persons, but we tend to be. And few things have more power to divide people than unequal treatment - playing favorites. It just doesn't belong in Christian relationships.
Impartiality begins at home and, believe me, the kids are keeping score. Often, there's one child that we are kind of drawn to because he or she is loveable or easy to handle or gives us good feedback. And it's easy to inadvertently favor that child. Sometimes, it works the opposite way - we favor the one who's most difficult and we neglect the one who's doing well and doesn't seem to need as much attention. A wise parent will calculate that fairness effect before he or she gives or takes away anything.
But the principle of impartial leadership affects other arenas, of course. If you're a boss or supervisor, partiality will cost you your credibility. If you're in Christian work, being partial to the rich or powerful will take you right past God's Biblical values. Money should never be the determining factor in the work of God.
The people around you, they're going to measure your fairness. They're going to measure your favoritism. So you should - before you act. You can't be paralyzed by trying to please all the people all the time, but you do need to weigh your punishments and your rewards, your yeses and your no's, by asking yourself, "How will this make everyone else feel?" In godly governing there's just no room for playing favorites - because God doesn't.