It can be so easy to have favourites. People who are easy to deal with, look nice, smell nice, have things in common with us, are no trouble to us… But it would be a pretty poor life if we only let in those who we think we will like, are initially drawn to or look good. We would miss a lot of richness and diversity in our life – and we know that looks go for nothing in terms of what is going on in someone’s heart.
In a reminder if you needed it that in the UK this weekend Strictly Come Dancing returns to our tv, I am reminded of Bruce Forsyth who always used to tell dancers who had had a tough evening or the judges were laying into,
You’re my favourite
In true British tradition, the underdog is backed, the one who is not doing so well is supported and cheered on.
That is the kind of attitude God is asking of us. Not a patronising act, but genuine love and concern for those who may not be popular or may be rejected if popular criteria are employed. We are to see no person as fundamentally any different to any other.
God’s Kingdom is for everyone. It doesn’t depend on wealth, appearance, good manners, worship style, life style or any other criteria we might employ, it is for each and every person. We expect to be accepted and we should be ready to accept others. God’s love is the same for everyone – and ours should be too. Treating people differently is not an option.
Sometimes we want to put others down because it makes me feel better about myself, I can maintain my moral and social high ground if I keep everyone else below it, if they don’t fit the criteria I create. But I don’t need to do that. I am God’s favourite, just as you are as ‘they‘ are. God has plenty of room in his heart for many favourites. He loves each and every one of us. I am asked to stand from my place of assurance of his love and pass that assurance on to others, not feel the need to separate others out.
Each person, in front of us, that we hear about in the media, that other people talk about (in glowing or disparaging terms) – they are each God’s favourite. Can I look at them that way too? Because that is what God does.
I thank you so much
that your love,
are for everyone.
that each person is your favourite,
special to you,
and that heart,
to look at each person
not outward experiences,
but a person
May I treat no one
by how they look,
what I may have heard about them,
whether they fit societies criteria,
or my ridiculous standards,
but as your child,
for the times I have done otherwise
and help me to act
from your love for me,
that I too can stand as your favourite
– but you have plenty of room
Warning against Having Favorites
2 My friends, if you have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, you won’t treat some people better than others. 2 Suppose a rich person wearing fancy clothes and a gold ring comes to one of your meetings. And suppose a poor person dressed in worn-out clothes also comes. 3 You must not give the best seat to the one in fancy clothes and tell the one who is poor to stand at the side or sit on the floor. 4 That is the same as saying that some people are better than others, and you would be acting like a crooked judge.
5 My dear friends, pay attention. God has given a lot of faith to the poor people in this world. He has also promised them a share in his kingdom that he will give to everyone who loves him. 6 You mistreat the poor. But isn’t it the rich who boss you around and drag you off to court? 7 Aren’t they the ones who make fun of your Lord?
8 You will do all right, if you obey the most important law[a] in the Scriptures. It is the law that commands us to love others as much as we love ourselves. 9 But if you treat some people better than others, you have done wrong, and the Scriptures teach that you have sinned.
10 If you obey every law except one, you are still guilty of breaking them all. 11 The same God who told us to be faithful in marriage also told us not to murder. So even if you are faithful in marriage, but murder someone, you still have broken God’s Law.
12 Speak and act like people who will be judged by the law that sets us free. 13 Do this, because on the day of judgment there will be no pity for those who have not had pity on others. But even in judgment, God is merciful![b]
Faith and Works
14 My friends, what good is it to say you have faith, when you don’t do anything to show that you really do have faith? Can that kind of faith save you? 15 If you know someone who doesn’t have any clothes or food, 16 you shouldn’t just say, “I hope all goes well for you. I hope you will be warm and have plenty to eat.” What good is it to say this, unless you do something to help? 17 Faith that doesn’t lead us to do good deeds is all alone and dead!