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By Stan L. Caldwell

Parents have a grave responsibility to their children. They are to seek what is best for their children and bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. They must be concerned for each child’s spirituality and ultimate good.

There are things that draw a parent to one child or the other at various times. When a child is sick he must have more attention than the others. When a child is falling behind others in school a parent may need to spend more time with that child than the others. When a child is suffering because of evil influences of some kind that child needs more attention from parents, etc. It may be good that comes that needs attention. If one child receives an “A” on his report card he may need praising for a job well done. If a child does some act of kindness he needs the approval and encouragement of his parents. If a child excels or if the child is just a good person in general he may need extra praise and a show of affection. But parents ever need to do what is best for each of their children.

I believe we see this principle involved even in the apostles with Jesus. When Peter sinned Jesus was drawn to talk to him and help him overcome. When John sat with Jesus at the table, he leaned his head on Jesus. When Judas was about to betray Christ, Jesus spoke saying one of you shall betray me, warning Judas of his actions beforehand. Jesus was always doing what was best for the twelve. He was seeking to help each of them with all his heart. Parents need to have this spirit. Parents need to love each of their children and seek what is best for each of them. Our children need to know that we want what is best for them, as much as we want what is best for anyone else.

When a parent shows partiality to one of his children over others he is setting himself up for trouble. Rebekah in Genesis 27 is a classic examples of this great evil. Isaac favored Esau and Rebekah favored Jacob. The boys had different interests and it was natural for some closeness to develop as a result. Esau loved to hunt as did his father Isaac and Jacob was mild tempered and loved things Rebekah loved. But Rebekah was determined to gain for Jacob what was not hers to give and as a result many evils came upon her. If we can see the consequences of such partiality perhaps we will be wiser than was Rebekah and seek what is best for all involved.

I. SELFISHNESS: This is indeed the cause as well as a consequence of partiality. We see it well in Rebekah. She wanted the blessing that Isaac was going to give Esau to be given to Jacob. She wanted her will to be done over her husband’s and she did not care how she achieved that goal. Listen to her statement at the conclusion of the text when they are sending Jacob to live with Laban as a result of her partiality. She says for him to go, “until your brother’s anger turns away from you and he forgets what you have done to him; then I will send and bring you from there. Why should I be bereaved also of you both in one day?” And Rebekah said to Isaac, “I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth; if Jacob takes a wife of the daughters of Heth, like these who are the daughters of the land, what good will my life be to me?”, Gen.27:45-46. Do you see the selfishness in Rebekah. She talks of what Jacob did to Esau when she was behind it all. She talks of her being bereaved and she is weary of her life and what good will her life be to her. When we want our way regardless of how we get it, we become the most selfish of people. We think only of self and what we want. How sad a person becomes and how hurtful to others!

II. MISTRUST: Look at Rebekah’s actions and see how mistrust was built in this family by such a woman. She is willing to lie, deceive, plot and go to any length to get her way. When we see the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 we see a woman whose husband can safely trust in her, but not so with Isaac toward Rebekah. How could Esau trust such a mother who had plotted to take away his blessing? How could Jacob really respect his mother knowing she would betray her husband and his brother? What if she turned against him, of what would she be capable? How could Esau trust Jacob? The confidence that should be in a family must have faded in that family.

III. HATRED: After they stole Esau’s blessing, “Esau said in his heart, “The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then I will kill my brother Jacob.” The mother had not built love between her children but hatred by her partiality. What harm she did to Jacob, whom she thought she loved, turning his own brother against him.

IV. SEPARATION: As a result of these actions, Jacob was sent away to save his life. Jacob sends him for a wife but the real cause is Rebekah’s fear Esau will kill him. Do you see the harm that she did to herself and her family by her favoritism? They were without Jacob as he dwelt for years in Haran because of her actions.

If parents could only see the harm they do in showing partiality to their children surely they would repent. Desiring what is best for each of our children does not diminish the love we have for any of our children. Each child is different and each child is precious. We should be willing to give our life for any one of them.

We should see this same principle concerning brethren in the church. It would help relationships among brethren knowing that all want what is best for all. It is normal for certain brethren to fit well and have certain things in common that they may not have with others. But when brethren show partiality and want what is best for their close associates and want harm for others and when we promote one to the neglect of others or we strive to make one look small because we long for others to be exalted, we show partiality and we sin as much as did Rebekah. We bring on selfishness, mistrust, hatred and finally separation. We really harm ourselves as much as anyone as did Rebekah in her loss of respect and closeness.

May God give us wisdom in our homes, in the church and in society that we live as God would have us to and that we have the attitudes and actions that are best for those about us! Let us not be a hindrance to others but a blessing to all. Let us realize the consequences of partiality.

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