No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite. — Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

I had a friend in college who grew up in a small Southern town. The elders at his church—every single one—were members of the Klu Klux Klan. The two largest deacons had a very simple job—they were the church bouncers. If a black man tried to get in, they would turn him away.

Can’t you hear the Spirit whispering in the background of that church, “But that man...he is My favorite. Let My favorite one in!”

There can be no favoritism in the body of Jesus—and yet there is. Race, economic status, and gender have all been areas of favoritism in the Church for years. The good news, my friends, is that we have a choice. We can choose to see only favorites. And we can choose to reject favoritism. 

People often ask me to pray for them. And I do; it’s a privilege. But I’m quick to correct the idea that God pays more attention to the prayers of a pastor, or that I have some sort of “yes” card to pull with the Lord. Now, of course I know  I’m His favorite, but I also know you are His favorite. Because we are all His favorites, there is no favoritism in the family of God. 

Favoritism says that, for some inappropriate reason, some people are treated better than others, some receive superior opportunities than others, and some get more blessings than others. Paul destroyed that lie and, by the power of the Spirit, you can begin to live the truth! 

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)

Father, we are all Your favorites. Let sibling rivalry and competition be gone in Your family. Let there be hospitality and selflessness and high esteem of each other. Let me, imperfect me, love them with Your perfect love. Yes, teach me the language of Your love. Amen.