As a parent I’ve discovered over the years that there’s no surer way of provoking cries of ‘It’s not fair!’ from my children, than when I appear to favour one over the others. They expect to be treated equally and seem to have an inbuilt favouritism sensor that is easily triggered.
Such favouritism lies at the heart of a Bible story made famous in the musical, ‘Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat’. The story has a happy ending full of forgiveness and reconciliation. But it begins with a family broken apart by the favouritism shown to Joseph by his father, and the jealousy this provokes amongst his brothers. It’s a story endlessly repeated in families across the world and throughout history.
In a similar way we might imagine that the gods of religion show favouritism towards their adherents. It certainly often appears that the adherents themselves believe this to be true with the inevitable consequences. Good news then that in a letter written to the 1stcentury church in Rome St Paul writes ‘God does not show favouritism.’ As someone once put it there is nothing we can do to make God love us any more or any less than he already does. The only question is how we choose to respond.