When I read the story of Joseph in Genesis, I come away stunned at how God uses man’s sins to bring about good. We know this because at the end of the story God works through Joseph’s trials to bring about the salvation of God’s chosen people, Israel, in Egypt. The one who was rejected due to jealousy, was the one whom God protected all along to see the visions and interpret the dreams—especially Pharaoh’s dreams—so that the nation could prepare for the ensuing famine and care for all the people affected and protect them from starvation.
But it all started with the issue of favoritism. This comes into play because Jacob had a favorite wife, Rachel. And Rachel was mother to Joseph and Benjamin, thus they were Jacob’s favorite. But this favoritism did not begin here, but even before, while Jacob’s parents. There, Isaac and Rebekah each had their favorite twin, Esau and Jacob, respectively. It was Rebekah who, in Genesis 27, devised the plan to deceive old Isaac and steal the blessing from Esau and give it to Jacob. Then, when Jacob favors Joseph above his other brothers and gives him a special robe (Genesis 37:3), this causes all the brothers to hate Joseph, to the point of wishing him dead. But we know how the story ends.
I have seen similar situations occur in life. We all have. The struggle is how to address them as a pastor in the church. Sometimes the transgressors are the young VBS helpers who are unaware of their favoring of certain children, at the detriment and neglect of other children, for any host of reasons. This is not Christlike practice and so we address them in debriefs at the end of the day. Praise the LORD, the favorers are humble and thus acknowledge and work at showing love to all the children.
It is not just the pastor who can see favoritism. Guests, new and old members can see favoritism too. But not all. The worst part is, when someone who is favored transgresses and a “favoring group” chooses to ignore the situation and favors the favored due to… favoritism. Christ’s name is tarnished, the transgression is not cleared up and justice is not truly sought and delivered. The rejection of the non-favored causes them to seek another family of Christians where justice is cherished.
You see, it is about justice. Consider this: “Many seek an audience with a ruler, but it is from the LORD that man gets justice” (Proverbs 29:26 NIV84). And this is true. Some transgressions can never be fully rectified. Not everything can be replaced. Then we trust in the LORD, as Matthew 5:3, says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”. The issue is when correction can be made, yet justice is ignored and denied, this should not be so. In Proverbs 29:7, it says, “The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.” Note: the meaning of poor is not about wealth, but of being helpless, powerless, insignificant and even dejected. Give us all humble hearts, LORD. Let us work, let us pray, and let us be the righteous, not the wicked. Amen!