Mankind faces a partiality dilemma! Partiality is a biased attitude or behavior: an unfair preference for one person or thing over another. Such a problem is not new: Isaac was partial to Esau for his cooking abilities (Gen. 25:28); Jacob preferred Joseph because of his birth order (Gen. 37:3) and Rebekah for her beauty (Gen. 29:17-18). We like to think that it is society as a whole that dictates bias, but in reality, it is individual bias that leads to the larger societal ‘issues.’ Strong’s Concordance defines partiality as: The fault of one who when called on to give judgment has respect of the outward circumstances of man and not to their intrinsic merits.
Judging a person based on their outward “circumstance” is indeed a “fault,” and one that every Christian must individually tackle. As we labor to see others’ “intrinsic merits” may we be encouraged as we remember that, while we may struggle, “There is no partiality with God” (Romans 2:11). Whew, that’s good to remember!🙂
Below are a few examples from scripture (emphasis added):
- 2 Chronicles 19:7: King Jehoshaphat stated: “There is no iniquity with the LORD our God, no partiality, nor taking of bribes.” The KJV uses the phrase “respect of persons” in place of “partiality”
- Galatians 2:6, spoken by Paul: “God shows personal favoritism to no man” The KJV reads: “God accepts no man’s person.” Person in this context is defined as the front, face, appearance.
- Acts 10:34-35: Peter proclaimed: “”In Truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.”” *Notice that fearing God and working righteousness are matters of the heart.
- 1 Samuel 16:7, spoken by the LORD to the prophet Samuel, regarding the anointing of David:
“Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him [Eliab, David’s brother]. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for a man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.””
Aren’t you glad that God does not judge us on our outward circumstance, but on our intrinsic (core) merits (virtues)? God’s concern is on the eternal part of us. Will we or won’t we use our free will to nourish the eternal entity inside of us? Such is our challenge. I don’t know about you, but I am happy that the thing I need to most work on is something I can work on. I cannot work on many physical, temporary things that are out of my control, but I can work on the one thing that is spiritual, eternal and fully in my control.
- Partiality is a human dilemma; God shows partiality to NO man.
- We, Christians, must labor diligently to avoid the temptation to give preference to someone based on their outward circumstance; rather, we must always strive to “see” through to the core value of each person—not assessing their value through our subjective lens—full of bias, but assessing their value through God’s objective lens—free of bias.
- Although external conditions may not always have the ability to be controlled, the heart is something we do have the ability to control. God told the Israelites in Ezekiel’s day to get “A new heart and a new spirit” (Ezekiel 18:31). In stating such, God laid responsibility on the Israelites. But the words also reveal a feasible responsibility we have to the condition of our own hearts as well.