James 3:17-18 (ESV) 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, IMPARTIAL and sincere. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
THOUGHTS FROM THE BOARD
It would be safe to say that most, if not all of us, like to think of ourselves as impartial. We desire to be regarded as fully committed to Christ, undivided, balanced, law abiding and certainly not one who would make an unfair distinction in our conduct toward others. Thankfully, as Christ followers, we have the power of the Holy Spirit working to lead and guide us, yet the reality of Romans chapter 7 still presents problems at times. As a result, sometimes we waver in our convictions, doubt God, have been judgmental and have unfavorable intentions. Mercifully, we have an unwavering Savior who is able to empathize with our weaknesses. Jesus was unbiased and He purely submitted to the Father’s will as He functioned with abundant conviction and purpose. Jesus was distinctively impartial as He gave His life for the redemption of all mankind.
In order for us to develop impartiality in this life we need wisdom from above – a wisdom that does not vacillate and is certain. Divine wisdom that is steadfast regardless of the circumstances is decisive; meaning, it is neither influenced nor changing because of conditions. It is free of prejudice and pre-conceived notions. Proverbs 4:7 states, “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight” (or understanding). This comes about as we seek to employ His Truth to life’s situations, which then helps us to act decisively, impartially and steadfastly regardless of circumstances.
But can we say the same thing about teaching, training, and applying wisdom in the lives of our children? How do we deal with the child who seems to always push the boundaries, yet tries so hard to be obedient, while another sibling is so consistently good that it is hard to discipline her infractions? These are primary times of needing to apply “wisdom from above” lest we fall into the trap of cookie-cutter parenting. Each one of our children will need something different from us and it is only the wisdom of God that can help in discerning the most just way to handle each situation as it arises.
Question: One set of grandparents is very obvious in showing preference of one of my children over the others. How do I deal with this and instruct my children about the importance of how not to show “partiality” towards others?
Answer: Thankfully when children are young they may not recognize the partiality that we may perceive. As a Mom, try to balance things out to the best of your ability by showing equality to all the children in the presence of their grandparents.
For the child that this preference is being shown to, be sure to pay special attention in training him/her to prefer others over self, both at home and when away. Talk about ways to serve others and role-play how to prefer others in various setting. For the “favored” child, be sure to watch for a sense of piety or self-promotion that may become part of his character traits. A helpful verse that addresses this possibility is; “let another man praise you, not your own lips” (Proverbs 27:2). While all children need to learn humility and serving others, for the favored child it is even more critical and our training is being done in love for the best interest of the child for the future.
Now, for the children who are “less considered,” they also have lessons to learn in this situation. They are learning to show compassion and kindness to those who treat you poorly and making every effort not to return evil for evil, but rather good. Also, by instructing children how to be polite, honoring and attentive regardless of how one is being treated, we are teaching them to be impartial, to not show favoritism (Romans 2:11) as well as not to return evil for evil but instead good for evil (1 Peter 3:9). Teaching children how to respond rightly to wrong behaviors in life will go far beyond this particular situation. As they learn to respond with good works, good words and a happy countenance, they will develop a habit that will extend to other life situations.
Regarding the Grandparents, pray for wisdom about approaching them to discuss your observations. They may not even be aware or recognize their partiality toward one grandchild. If they are Believers this could spur them on toward love and good works for the glory of God and benefit of all.
Because of the need for your children to honor their grandparents, discussions about this issue should be done privately–neither in the presence nor earshot of the children. In an effort to correct this issue you do not want to contribute to it.
Unwavering, single-minded devotion to God rather than double-minded; without doubting; undivided, committed to conviction, does not make unfair distinctions in conduct toward others as opposed to partiality, which speaks to intentions associated with sin: favoritism and unjust judgments.
For the LORD your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality …
Opening his mouth, Peter said: “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality …”
And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.
Love is the Answer – A Prayer for Impartiality
“God our Father and source of wisdom, whose statues are good and gracious and whose law is Truth, we call on you for help in this battle to be impartial. Your love, Lord, is better than life. You call us to love one another earnestly, which can only be done by your precious Holy Spirit ruling in our hearts. Your love alone is unwavering, unrelenting and irrevocable, for all other loves are filled with conditions and contingencies. Only your love is unfailing, unconditional, trustworthy and irrepressible, for all other loves are fickle and finite.
Only your love can expose the heroes of our hearts that replace Your best with our impression of best. Only Your love can break our self-righteousness and truly set us free to love well. Only Your love can transform our offenses against You that we effortlessly justify, excuse or minimize. Your love humbles yet motivates. Your love has no limits or bounds; it is impartial and everlasting. Only Your love moves us to true kingdom living.
Override our unbelief and overwhelm our hearts with your compelling love. By your Holy Spirit, preach the gospel afresh to our hearts. Only in the gospel do we experience your unfailing love. Thank you Lord Jesus that your love never fails. Wrap us afresh in your love. Amen.” (Author unknown)
Complacency, Conviction, Commitment, Courage
Anne Marie Ezzo looks at what Scripture says about these four topics. Defining terms and the study of numerous Scripture references provides a thorough understanding. Anne Marie challenges women to think about what their convictions are, and what their convictions are based on. She shares how women can encourage others and provoke them to love and good works. This presentation is a thought-provoking look at one’s commitment to Christ, His Word, and the application of truth. To order click here.
Adopt a Grandparent! For children whose grandparents have passed away or live far from them, adopting grandparents can be a blessing for everyone! Consider including an older, godly couple in your family’s celebrations or outings. This provides opportunities for your children to demonstrate respect for age and to be encouraged by positive role-models. For the adopted grandparents, it may ease some of the loneliness felt at being apart from their family as well. And it doesn’t have to be a couple….an adopted grandma or grandpa works too!