Does God Play Favorites?
This question, which came from a reader, is one that most of us have entertained at some point in our lives. We see others doing well, getting their prayers answered, and living happy and contented. Then we see our lives; we may not be doing that bad but it just not as good as others we see. Maybe you are in a hard marriage and your friends got a nice supportive spouse. Maybe you have a friend who died of cancer and others you know were healed. How come some people seem to have it better off than you?
What Does the Bible Say?
Romans 9 is a rough chapter for people who want to say God does not show favoritism. God declares his love for Jacob and hatred for Esau before either one of them was born. God says He raised Pharaoh up so He could display His power.
These are negative examples, but what about John? Why was he the one that Jesus loved? Why did Abraham get singled out to become the father of nations? Why was Gideon picked to save Israel? Why was Moses saved from the killing of infants?
Officially, the Bible says God does not show favoritism (Romans 2:11). However in this context Paul says this to convey that anyone who does evil will reap evil and anyone who does good will reap good. The question remains to the extent of what you receive from God.
There is an interesting account between Jesus and Peter after Jesus’ resurrection (John 21:18-23). Jesus starts to tell Peter the kind of death he would have. Peter turns, sees John, and questions Jesus if John was going to have to go through such suffering. Jesus basically answered what’s that to you.
Questions Regarding Favoritism Reveals Our Own Insecurities
The point Jesus was making was don’t bother yourself about someone else’s relationship with Me. Jesus just wants us to follow Him. “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion”, but also know that “I reward faith” (Romans 9:15 & Hebrews 11:6).
You can trust that His will for you is good, pleasing and perfect (Romans 12:2). If we get our eyes off other people, we will see that God is good to us. Other people may experience Him differently, but we get as much of God as we want. He does not withhold His goodness from us. We can be thankfully in every circumstance because He loves us with an everlasting love (1 Thessalonians 5:18 & Jeremiah 31:3).
Does God Play Favorites?
He treats us all differently because we are all created differently. Should He treat you the same as the person down the street? No. They are not the same person as you. They don’t have the same calling and destiny. We are to love God with all that we were given. We are to glorify Him the way we were specifically created. You will minister to God’s heart like no one else because there is no one like you.
Just rest assured that you can always enjoy more of God. The path is simple. Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you (James 4:8).
Does God play favorites? I tend to say no, but I don’t really care. I do know that He loves me more than I can already handle and that’s enough for me. I also know He will never introduce me to anyone He doesn’t love as much as me and that motivates me.
- If you would like more help on seeing God is good when life doesn’t seem to be fair, check out Craig Groeschel’s book: Hope in the Dark.