Does God Have Favorites?
Most Christians would emphatically deny the very thought. We’re brought up to believe that playing favorites is bad. God is good. Ergo, God can’t have favorites.
There are plenty of verses to support this point. Here is a small selection:
- “Then Peter started speaking: “I now truly understand that God does not show favoritism in dealing with people, but in every nation the person who fears him and does what is right is welcomed before him.” Acts 10:34-35
- “For there is no partiality with God.” Romans 2:11
- “But from those who were influential (whatever they were makes no difference to me; God shows no favoritism between people)—those influential leaders added nothing to my message.” Galatians 2:6
- “Masters, treat your slaves the same way, giving up the use of threats, because you know that both you and they have the same master in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.” Ephesians 6:9
Are you wearing green? Eating green food, drinking green beer? Stores are selling shamrocks, leprechauns adorn decorations, and we’re all hoping for a pot of gold. What is St. Patrick’s Day about, really? Just as Frosty and mistletoe have little to do with the true purpose of Christmas, and Easter holds far more significance than a bunny bringing baskets of jelly beans, St. Patrick’s Day has a rich heritage far beyond our cultural celebration.
Patrick was born in Scotland 385 AD. He was abducted at age 16 and taken to Ireland, where he lived in bondage as a shepherd. During that time, his Christian faith became real to him, sustaining him for six long year. God then rescued him and he returned home, where he became a priest—only to be called as a missionary back to the very country where he had been enslaved.
I’ve noticed a problem in the American church. Well, really there are lots of problems, but one has stuck out recently, and I’m as guilty as anyone else.
Somehow, we’ve gotten the mistaken idea that being a Christian is all about me. Being a believer—“following the rules”—is supposed to make my life better. For example, we believe that when it comes to money, we just need to follow Biblical principles and our families will prosper. Or, we believe that God will smooth the way and eliminate any problems or hardships from our lives.
I just read a book that has transformed the way I read the Bible. I think you should read it too.
As a white, North American woman, I have cultural biases—and most of the time I’m not even aware of them. I have a certain way of thinking about time—as a series of consecutive events. I live in a society that places a strong emphasis on individuality. We value efficiency, not procrastination, and leaders over followers. Other cultures view these (and other) things quite differently.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
We all recognize Jeremiah 29:11. We use it to cheer those going through a difficult time. We offer it to new graduates as a sign that their future is bright. When our own circumstances seem bleak, we repeat it to ourselves. God wants me to prosper. This is just a temporary setback.
The problem is, we take this oh-so-encouraging verse out of context and apply it incorrectly. I don’t want to rain on your parade, but misapplying Scripture is never a good idea. When things don’t pan out the way we think they should, we blame God. I know people who have even abandoned their faith altogether because they had expectations that God failed to meet.
Is outrage a Christian value? Maybe it depends on what we’re outraged about. In the current political climate, it seems the entire nation is outraged—or at least a very vocal portion. I’ve seen post after post urging us to “stay outraged” until things go our way. But is outrage a good thing? When is outrage appropriate?
It depends on what we mean by outrage. So that we’re all on the same page, let’s see how the dictionary defines it:
- An act of wanton cruelty or violence; any gross violation of law or decency.
- Anything that strongly offends, insults, or affronts the feelings.
- A powerful feeling of resentment or anger aroused by something perceived as an injury, insult, or injustice.
Synonyms include: indignation, fury, anger, rage, disapproval, wrath, and resentment.
What says Valentine’s Day better than a box of conversation hearts? I have happy childhood memories of opening my sack lunch and finding a box of candy with sayings such as “BE COOL,” “TRUE LOVE,” and of course, “I ♥ YOU.” My friends and I would share giggles over “MARRY ME” and “FIRST KISS,” and assumed that “PUPPY LOVE” affirmed our affinity for young dogs.