Almost every person on the planet has felt the sting of favoritism shown toward someone else. Anyone with at least one sibling has felt real or imagined preference. We’ve all experienced it at work, at school, and in social interactions. Sometimes prejudice against us and favoritism toward another is blatant, open, and vocal.
When another is preferred over us, the bite of jealousy and envy strikes at our hearts. The unfairness of being rejected, simply because of who we are, produces shame. It can be one of the strongest formative emotions of our lives, leading us to believe that God must also feel we’re inferior in some way and unworthy of his focused attention.
We want to be seen rightly.
We want to be valued.
We want to be loved for who we are.
We want justice.
This is why God’s impartiality is one of his most reassuring and attractive traits. God is love, and he is just. He is no respecter of a person’s status, wealth, birth order, or ethnicity.
God shows no favoritism—Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11; Ephesians 6:9; and Colossians 3:25. Regardless of who we are, he metes out justice. He bestows blessing with equal impartiality.
When the prophet Samuel went to Bethlehem seeking Israel’s next king, he unwittingly waded into the thick of family favoritism. Jesse called forward to meet the prophet all of his sons except one, David, the youngest, who appeared insignificant in his father’s eyes. But David was the very one chosen by God to replace Saul as king. Jesse didn’t see David clearly, but God did.
Concerning this neglect, God said, “The LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7 ESV).
David later wrote, “For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in” (Psalm 27:10 ESV). That is the healing truth in all acts of partiality. The Lord will take us in.
Parental favoritism is often codified in a will, an inheritance, or through inequity in gifting during their lifetimes. It marks the child out as “not mine” in subtle and hurtful ways. Over such an issue, an angry son came to Jesus, knowing he was just and unbiased.
“Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me!” the wounded son pled.
Jesus aimed the disinherited son toward God, the One who adopts into his own family the broken-hearted and downcast, the One who takes us in. Money won’t fix the wound, but God can.
“One’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions,” Jesus said (Luke 12:15b ESV).
Then Jesus shared a parable that reminded the disinherited son that the only treasure that matters is to be rich toward God—to know him, to seek him, and to love him. Jesus warned against the seductive lure of thinking that money will meet soul needs or that it will bring self-sufficiency and rest. Wealth is temporal. It won’t satisfy eternally. It won’t heal the wounded heart.
However, to those who place their faith in Christ, God becomes an unbiased Father.
God’s children become his heirs, co-heirs with Christ. God promises an eternal inheritance that cannot be taken away, one that will be eternally satisfying—Ephesians 1:13-14; Colossians 1:11-14; 3:23-24; 1 Peter 1:3-5; Hebrews 9:15.
Favoritism on this earth, in this lifetime, is insignificant in light of this. It only matters what God thinks of us, and he accepts us equally as his own children. He views each of us with the same degree of love, mercy, and kindness as every other. Desiring to give us a share of his eternal inheritance, he invites us to be members of his family through faith in Christ Jesus.
How does God’s lack of partiality comfort you?