When reading through the Bible, we are often confronted with challenges to our way of thinking. Commands and admonitions are given and we suddenly realize that these words are directed towards me. They are meant for my benefit and are “God-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3: 16 – 17)
Most of the time when these revelations occur they are a reminder, a course corrector, and part of God’s daily work of mercy to realign our will with the Divine will. Today’s such moment occurred for me when reading through Exodus 23. The chapter begins, “You shall not spread a false report. You shall not join hands with a wicked man to be a malicious witness. You shall not fall in with the many to do evil, nor shall you bear witness in a lawsuit, siding with the many, so as to pervert justice, nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his lawsuit.” (Exodus 23: 1 – 3)
It seems we’ve come a long way from the Apostle Paul’s word to Timothy: “Do absolutely nothing out of partiality or favoritism.” (1 Timothy 5: 21) Yes, it seems we live in a time where we are taught to show partiality – and you can insert the names of the groups for which partiality is supposed to apply.
But, what is the plain outcome of partiality? Justice is perverted. People become more fixed and mired in their own biases. The divisions between us are more starkly defined and the love and compassion we should share with each other as part and parcel of our common humanity is discouraged as weak or wrong.
There is only one remedy that the Scriptures provide for the temptation to show partiality: the faith that works by love. (Galatians 5: 6) Where can you find such faith? You can only find it by surrendering to Jesus Christ. Any other cause or suit, any other movement or message, that doesn’t start and finish with you being in right relationship with God in Jesus Christ and conducting yourself with every other person without partiality is a cause to which you should not be partial.