Faith That Works When The Pressure’s On: Impartiality
When we’re under stress or tension, we tend to be less tolerant of people’s differences. We’re more likely to fall into the temptation to be self-centered and prejudiced. In this message, we look at four biblical reasons that God hates prejudice and the solution for rooting out the prejudice in your own life.
Something To Talk About:
- Partiality questions God’s creation: Showing favoritism is evil because it places a utilitarian value on humans created in the image of God. It denies the reality that our worth is given to us from God, and instead, it sizes people up based upon what they can do for us. God created us all. Different races, genders, sizes, and shapes were His idea. And it is a good idea. Businesses learned in the ’90s that diversity was a very effective tool. Getting ideas from different groups of people proved to more effective than ideas from a group of people who are all the same. People who show partiality are basically telling God that He made a mistake not making everyone like us. Acts 17:26 says, “From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries.”
- Partiality is a sign of ignorance: Proverbs 24:23 says, “A house is built by wisdom and becomes strong through good sense.” Nowhere is this verse more appropriate than favoritism and prejudice. There are people who do not know, and do not know that they do not know; this is ignorance. There are people who do not know and think that they know; this is foolishness. There are people who do not know and know that they do not know; this is understanding. Ignorance and foolishness come naturally. Each takes little or no effort. Understanding on the other hand requires diligence and a repentant heart. Therefore the beginning of understanding is to understand that you most likely do not have it. 1 John 2:11 says, “But anyone who hates a fellow believer is still living and walking in darkness. Such a person does not know the way to go, having been blinded by the darkness.” People who show favoritism and partiality are walking around in blindness. James 3:17 says, “But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace-loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.”
- Partiality disobeys the great commandment: Galatians 5:14-15 says, “For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.” Most of us don’t have a problem loving God, but the truth of the matter is, some people are just hard to love. Personalities sometimes get in the way. They are different than we are. They look different, talk different, and act differently. But the Bible tells us we should love them anyway. Are we willing to love them enough that they can feel our love? Do we give them time? Are we willing to listen? Are we willing to put our love into action? God’s love is a love that loves everybody, not just those who are easy to love. God wants us to love those who are different. Remember the story of the Good Samaritan which is a story of racial reconciliation. The story is about treating everyone with respect and with love. God’s love is the answer to racism, sexism, and every other kind of prejudice in the world today.
- Partiality is a serious sin. James goes on in (2:9) to apply the law of love specifically to partiality. “But if you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin. You are guilty of breaking the law.” To show partiality to the rich while you treat the poor with contempt, or to show partiality to a certain race while treating those of another race as inferior, is to commit sin. And this is a serious sin. God will not tolerate injustice. Romans 14:10 says, “So why do you condemn another believer? Why do you look down on another believer? Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.”
- We are all prone to being partial or to show favoritism? Agree or disagree and why? What are some common evangelical Christian partialities or prejudices?
- God must break down our built-in prejudices if we are going to be effective in His service. Agree or disagree and why?
- Have you ever made conclusions about a person based on outward appearance? How does being “in Christ” change how we view other people who are different than we are? Does impartiality make us ignorant?
- How might we tangibly benefit from relating to those unlike us?
- Could the pursuit of others different than we are be as simple as branching out in your friendships? How could you begin to include others who are not like you in your life?
- Is partiality a sin to you? How?
- Sin corrupts and divides and, because we continue to wrestle with sin, our differences can be the catalyst for our partiality. Agree or disagree and why.
- Should every Christian be seeking to reach those who are culturally different or is this just the gift of some?
- What are some of the culturally different groups in our city that the Lord might want us to reach? What should you do?
- What are you going to do differently as a result of this message?
Take one thing home with you:
The following is a devotional by A.W. Tozer on favoritism:
There is an evil which I have seen under the sun — one that grows and does not diminish. And it is all the more dangerous because it is done without evil aforethought but, as it were, carelessly and without wrong intent. It is the evil of giving to them that have and withholding from them that have not. It is the evil of blessing with a loud voice them that are already blessed and letting the unblessed and the outcast lie forgotten. Let a man appear in a local Christian fellowship and let him be one whose fame is bruited abroad, whose presence will add something to the one who entertains him, and immediately a score of homes will be thrown open and every eager hospitality will be extended to him. But the obscure and the unknown must be content to sit on the fringes of the Christian circle and not once be invited into any home. This is a great evil and an iniquity that awaits the judgment of the great day. And it is so widespread that scarcely any of us can claim to be free from it. So we condemn it only with utter humility and with acknowledgment that we too have been in some measure guilty.