God's Favor, Not Ours

I try to be as even-handed and balanced as I possibly can as a habit. I believe doing that can do much to provide for a stable environment in my life overall. And I also found out, it is the best way to relate positively to my family, friends, and those that I live around, work with, and serve in ministry. I think being balanced and evenhanded is seen by most as a good way to create and strengthen ties with the people one is close to, though many would agree that it is not always an easy thing to do consistently throughout our lives.

Part of one's attempt to be evenhanded should be to search out more than one side of the people that we know, meet, or are paired with at work and in our faith-based relationships. To dig deeper and discover the more nuanced side of a person and get to know the various sides that they show us or those we may uncover on our own. To be well balanced is first to get to know oneself as best as possible, focusing on every side of our personality intimately. Like the most gracious, kindhearted, patient, generous, supportive, and inclusive sides of us that we can muster. As well as the most seriously undesirable parts of our personality. Like the petty, bullying, dishonest, selfish, jealous, and mean ways that we have shown.

When we do the work to find out how best to be evenhanded and balanced in as many parts of our lives as we can, we are moving in the path that God wants us to walk. That path moves us closer toward God's will for us and for those around us as their spiritual helpers. What prevents us from taking that path of balance and evenhandedness?

One thing that stops up our efforts to be balanced and evenhanded, like a clog in a drain, is showing favoritism to people. Some who read this may say there is no way we can avoid showing favoritism, it is so ingrained in us, it must be in our DNA! There are many things that are part of our DNA, both physically and spiritually, that we work hard to lessen the negative effect on us or to put those things under arrest, euphemistically speaking, to neutralize them. Showing favoritism is one of those things that we should work to lessen and neutralize in our lives.

If you read the Bible passage for this week in James 2:1-13, you will find out that James begins the second chapter with much passion, explaining what he feels about showing favoritism as people who follow Jesus' teachings and are led by the Spirit of Jesus. After you read it, take some time to define what favoritism means to you. Then figure out if your definition is how Jesus thinks about it. Examine yourself and how you may be someone who engages in showing favoritism and, if so, why you think that you do that. Let's pray for each other as we take this journey together. Amen.

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