By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
When understanding God, it is valuable to understand why He believes it is important to treat everyone equally. There are many dangers and assumptions we have to make when we show partiality or favoritism.
James 3:17 (ESV): But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.
When looking at the wisdom of God, we can see the interconnectivity of each attribute in this verse. It is unlikely someone can be open to reason if they show partiality to someone or some group. Reason being, their bias will play a significant role in how they process the available information. If we prefer someone, we will excuse actions as them, “having a bad day” or something being “taken out of context”. If we dislike someone, we will say, “yeah but” to every rational point or action they take. Perhaps we will find it difficult to show mercy and be gentle when discussing something with someone we have a prejudice against. Even if we find ourselves able to say the right thing to their face; we may lack sincerity in our hearts.
James 2:1-4 (NIV): My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
The danger of us showing partiality for any reason is the judgment we are making on them. For example, if we assume one person is always right; then we are naturally assuming the other person is wrong. If we always value something someone does or says higher than others; then it is reasonable to conclude we are devaluing whatever the other person is saying. We can begin to see why God would find an issue with partiality, because showing partiality is to value one person’s life greater than another’s.
Acts 10:34-35 (ESV): So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.
God looks at all life as equally valuable and judges each of us the same way. If we abide in His doctrine, He is pleased with us; if we ignore His will, He is saddened by us. God does not care whether we were saved yesterday or thirty years ago; when we ignore His will the judgment is the same. By treating people differently, we defame the righteous and pureness of God and replace it with our personal impure judgment.
By: Sister-to-Sister Committee
I’ve often heard Proverbs 22:6 quoted in an attempt to comfort Christian parents with unfaithful children or children who have never obeyed the Gospel. As my own son crossed the 12th grade finish line and enrolled in college with no sign of obeying the Gospel in sight, I began to ponder more and more on the meaning of Proverbs 22:6. Our family, by no means perfect, had faithfully attended every Sunday and Wednesday service and could probably count on two hands the number of services missed. I had also tried diligently to model Christian behaviors before him.
And yet, something continued to nag away at me about that scripture and whether I had done all that I could to train him. What does it mean to train a child in the way they should go? I began to do some research on it. The definition of training includes instructing, coaching and instilling discipline. When I think of training, I think of a trellis in a garden, and how it must be watered, fertilized and at times, pruned. I think of the water as the unconditional love that Christian parents are tasked with modeling. It starts with our love for God. If we love God, we will keep His commandments (John 14:15), and we will allow the Bible to be a source of knowledge, skill and guidance for our decisions in every aspect of our lives including raising our children.
The fertilizer is the nurturing that we as parents must provide for our children. This means ensuring that our children have the right environment in which to grow and prosper. It means instilling a moral compass in our children so that even when they leave our nest they can confidently make decisions that are in keeping with the Word of God. Pruning is the process of shaping and molding our children, and disciplining them when they fail to submit to our authority. Christians are not beyond the chastisement of God, Hebrews 12:6. Shall we not much more chastise our own children when they need it? (Proverbs 13:24) In shaping and molding our children, it requires teaching them an attitude of gratitude rather than entitlement. It requires instilling in them a willingness to serve others. Modeling respect for God and for His children is also key.
Training means not only providing for our children’s physical needs but also their emotional and spiritual needs. These needs must be balanced for a well-rounded product. Too much water and the plants will drown. Too much fertilizer and the plants will burn under the glare of the hot sun. Too much pruning can cause excessive stress and weakness. If you are a mother, grandmother or other female caregiver and would like to learn more on this subject, please visit our page by clicking here to sign up for an interactive workshop!
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
When you think of Jesus and the life He lived, what do you remember most about Him? He had such a profound impact on the world that a dozen of us may mention something different. Some may remember Jesus for the miracles He performed. They will talk about the healing of the sick (Matthew 8:13), walking on water (Matthew 14:25-27), and raising Lazarus from the dead.
John 11:43-44 (NKJV): Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with grave clothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.”
Others may want to consider His compassion and humility. They will recall His compassion when He defended a woman accused of adultery from a mob seeking to stone her (John 8:5-11). Or they may mention Him washing the feet of His disciples as a powerful example of humility and selflessness.
John 13:3-5 (NIV): Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
I suspect there will be those who speak on the wisdom of His teachings. Recalling the emphasis He put on loving others more than we love ourselves; as well as loving those who wish ill on us (Matthew 5:43-48). The clarity in which He tackled fear and anxiety (Matthew 6:25), judging others (Matthew 7:1-2), forgiveness (Matthew 18:21-22), and obedience (John 14:15) are lessons we use to this day. It is hard to discuss Jesus’ teachings without mentioning His willingness to always speak the truth. Jesus was not afraid to tell it like it was; even if that meant ruffling a few people’s feathers.
Mark 7: 6-8 (NIV): He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: ‘these people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’ You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”
It is an encouragement to think of the impact Jesus had on the world through His words and actions. May our words and deeds afford us the same opportunity to be as influential as Jesus; and may we be remembered as someone who was honest, loving, selfless, and brave.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
There are going to be times in our life where it seems all hope is lost. We are going to encounter situations where all signs point to defeat, but we are to remain at peace in these times. That is because our peace comes from our faith in Jehovah and our hope in His Son Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:1-2 (NKJV): Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
The peace we have through our trials may have us appear foolish to some. Others will think we are in denial because of our unwillingness to allow defeat to enter our mind. Whether we have lost our job, lost our spouse, or lost our health; as long as our faith remains in God, our heart will remain at peace. We recognize even though the doctor’s verdict may say we have one month to live, that does not mean God cannot change the diagnosis. There are numerous stories of faithful people praying and being delivered from terminal diseases. There are people who survive encounters that all but promise death, to come out without a single scratch.
Psalm 18:1-3 (NIV): I love you, Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies.
Our peace comes through the strength provided by Jesus Christ. We remain at peace not because we know the results, but because we know whatever the result may be will further God’s kingdom. Whether that results is an unexplainable recovery or whether it be we succumb to our illness. We know that our struggles, trails, and battles will produce perseverance and character (Romans 5:3-4). We will not live our lives merely concerned about self-preservation; we will save as many people, with as much time and resources we are blessed with on this earth.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (ESV): Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
Though the pain may seem unbearable at times, and it very well may be; we must strive to find the peace through the storm. We must remember the eternal reward we are promised and where our hope ultimately lies. If the loss of our job, our health, our marriage, or our friends brings us (and others) to Christ; then we should do our best to focus on the door opened, not the door closed.