Pressure Points: Partiality
As we close out our series on Pressure Points, I want to take a close look at partiality. Partiality is synonymous with favoritism and/or prejudice, and is defined as unfair bias in favor of one thing or person compared with another. In James 2, the apostle admonishes the follower of Jesus Christ not to let public opinion pressure them into conduct and standards that devalue any person or give preference to one person over another.
If your faith is in Jesus Christ, who died for all men, you will see the potential in every person to become like Jesus, because that is the very essence of faith – believing for what we cannot see naturally. In fact, when you read James 2, we learn that we put ourselves in a position of judges if we make determinations about people based upon false distinctions and preconceived ideas. Partiality is sin because it does not reflect who God is.
Instead, we are to remember that the Kingdom of God is open to all people, especially those who are rejected and cast aside, if they love God and bring themselves under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. It is a Kingdom ruled by love, and as citizens, we are to love others not only as ourselves, but as Christ loves us. We are to show mercy and kindness instead of judgment. If your actions are without mercy, you are putting yourself in a position to be judged by God without mercy.
The Bible makes many references to the fact that God disdains partiality. There is a litany of scriptures in both the Old Testament and the New Testament relating to God’s judgment and His reward that reflect His even-handedness and express His displeasure with partiality.
After the day of Pentecost, Peter had to face his own dilemma with partiality. The Holy Spirit led him to a Roman Centurion named Cornelius (a Gentile), to minister the Gospel of Jesus Christ. At first Peter resisted, but after assurance that this was God’s will, Peter said these words:
Acts 10:28 - “…You know it is against our laws for a Jewish man to enter a Gentile home like this or to associate with you. But God has shown me that I should no longer think of anyone as impure or unclean.”
Acts 10:34 “…I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism [no partiality; no discrimination; no bias]. 35 In every nation he accepts those who fear him and do what is right.”
Immediately afterward, Cornelius and his entire family accepted Jesus Christ and were filled with the Holy Spirit.
We can become influenced by long-held generational beliefs, social pressures, public opinion, and even our own preconceived ideas. But Jesus Christ died for all men, whether they are followers of Christ or not. Let’s put on the mind of Jesus Christ and take on His characteristics, not our own. Our faith in God is the great equalizer. See each person through faith and treat them as Jesus would treat them.