No Respecter of Persons

 

(Acts 10:34-35 NIV)Then Peter began to speak: "I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism {35} but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.

 

If you think about it this is a remarkable statement. God is probably the only one in the world, past or present, that doesnít show favoritism. Favoritism is built right into us. Consider these examples.

1.      Fat person versus thin person.

2.      Tall person versus short person.

3.      Ugly person versus attractive person.

4.      Well dressed versus poorly dressed.

5.      Affluent person versus needy person.

6.      Man versus woman.

7.      Native born versus foreign born.

 

We will consider these examples more in a little bit, but first letís look at a few scriptures.

*†† (Deu 10:17-19 NIV)For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. {18} He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing. {19} And you are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt.

*†† (Job 34:18-19 NIV)Is he not the One who says to kings, 'You are worthless,' and to nobles, 'You are wicked,' {19} who shows no partiality to princes and does not favor the rich over the poor, for they are all the work of his hands?

*†† (Mat 22:16 NIV)They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. "Teacher," they said, "we know you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren't swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are.

*†† (Rom 2:11 NIV)For God does not show favoritism.

*†† (Col 3:11 NIV)Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

*†† (Acts 15:8-9 NIV)God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. {9} He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith.

*†† (Eccl 12:14 NIV)For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.

*†† (Gal 2:6 NIV)As for those who seemed to be important--whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not judge by external appearance--those men added nothing to my message.

 

So what difference does it make if we show a little favoritism? Well, first of all scripture calls it a sin.

*†† (James 2:8-9 NIV)If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, "Love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing right. {9} But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.

Here is the thing we donít usually intend to discriminate in some mean spirited or harmful way. It just happens! Letís consider again some of the examples I started with.

 

1.      Fat person versus thin person.

2.      Tall person versus short person.

3.      Ugly person versus attractive person.

4.      Well dressed versus poorly dressed.

5.      Affluent person versus needy person.

6.      Man versus woman.

7.      Native born versus foreign born.

Here are some of the ways discrimination is manifested. Nearly all of these manifestations apply to every category.

 

1.      Medical

2.      Legal

3.      Careers

4.      Welfare

5.      Homelessness

6.      Assumed lazy

7.      Bullying

8.      Earnings

9.      Social life

10.  Attitude towards life

This phenomenon is well know, we even have an admonition against it in our sayings, ďDonít judge a book by its cover.Ē Yet we frequently do judge a book by its cover. And that is not always bad. Sometime a judgment needs to be made and all we can judge by is appearances, that is, the cover. Still, knowing the difficulty, displaying favoritism or one might say prejudice, means we can work to minimize or eliminate the problem. And according to ď(James 2:8-9 NIV)If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, "Love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing right. {9} But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.Ē We really should make a good faith effort to control unwarranted favoritism.

 

Why do you suppose God chose an exceptionally tall man to be King? And his successor David was likewise most likely exceptionally tall.

*†† (1 Sam 9:2 NIV)He had a son named Saul, an impressive young man without equal among the Israelites--a head taller than any of the others.

*†† (1 Sam 10:23 NIV)They ran and brought him out, and as he stood among the people he was a head taller than any of the others.

 

My guess is that God was taking advantage of our propensity to display favoritism towards tall people. Regardless of the answer, letís work to avoid unwarranted favoritism!