The Sin of Favoritism

I was challenged yesterday in a sermon by our pastor and of course by the Spirit to search my heart for areas that I show favoritism or partiality. One of the first things I needed to understand was that it's sin. James 2:1 & 9 is pretty clear about it.
"My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don't show favoritism...But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers."

God's character is impartial.

Then Peter began to speak: "I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism. (Acts 10:34)

For God does not show favoritism(Romans 2:11)
So if God does not show favoritism why should we? I must admit that when our pastor first started preaching on this I thought "I don't show favoritism, I pretty much like everyone." Oh...I should know better! When I really began to look at what this means and understand it in a deeper way than before it was definitely and "ouch" moment.

Favoritism literally mean in the Greek "to receive the face". To judge based on appearance. OK, we don't judge the book by the cover, right? We all know that, but do we live it? Do I live it?

What goes through my mind when I see someone...
Who is rich - poor?
Who is tattooed?
Who has piercings?
Who has a "clean-cut" appearance?
Who Home schools - or sends their children to private or public schools?

What goes through my mind when I see someone...
Who has a rebellious child?
Who has a child on the mission field?
Whose child is acting up in church...or not acting up?

What about someone ...
Who is crying?
Who is not singing praise songs?
Who is wearing designer clothes?
Who is wearing last years style?
Who is listening to loud rock or rap music?
Who doesn't pray out loud?

What goes through your mind? What is your first thought toward them? I do not have the right to make any distinctions based on outward appearance. Remember James is talking to believers.

If I am showing favoritism toward my brothers and sisters in the Lord then first and foremost it is sin. But I am also being divisive, I am judging others, and hurting the church. I need to stop looking at the outward appearance and making judgements based on what I see. I need to understand that "the ground is level at the cross." (Pastor Tim) "Favoritism hurts and kills redemptive community." (PT)

If the ground is level at the cross is it level in my heart? What are my first thoughts of those in the body of Christ? What are yours?

Oh Father I confess that I am often quick to judge others based on outward appearance alone. Forgive me for having such a decisive heart. Help me to see and love others through your eyes and heart.


  1. Aahhhh... and I wonder what is the root cause of "favoritism"? Ouch. Thanks for the comment on my blog, I guess. :) Now I've got some more to think about from what I've read here.

    At least we know that God chastises those whom He loves!

  2. Hi Sharon,
    I just read your comment on my blog post, and wanted to come say "WELCOME"! It's nice to meet you. I just read this post, and it hit me between the eyes. Many of those things, I have thought before, when I should be listening to the teaching. Thank you for the reminder today.
    I'll be back to visit more!
    Karen@Kindred Haven

  3. We(hubby & I) just had this discussion w/our 15 y.o. daughter. She thinks its ridiculous to have to wear anything other than jeans & a t-shirt, b/c thats 'who she is', and all the comments you posted came out her mouth-to not judge based on what ppl look like. ok, yet we live in a world where reality is something different. You go to a job interview, a wedding, and you dress to the occasion b/c our society simply requires it. Im all for expressing yourself, but teaching our kids to have a balanced mindset about this is imperative. My 2-cents.


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