Life is about relationships and relationships are always two way. Each person can do things that either draws the other person towards them or sends them away. What would it look like to live in a way that turned the face of the Lord towards us with favour? On the other hand, are there things we could do that really frustrate God? Surely that'd be worth knowing, as we travel through the ups and downs of life.
Favour Comes to the Impartial
The book of Proverbs tells us that the foundational relationship in life is the one we hold with God our maker. With great clarity, it also makes clear to us what God loves and what he hates.
'Differing weights and differing measures—
the LORD detests them both.' Proverbs 20:10
In biblical times, products would be measured out using a balance system with weighted plates on the opposite side of the product being purchased, or by using a standard measure. Sometimes the salesperson could be crafty and modify the weights depending on the customer they were selling to. This would often favour the rich and powerful over against the poor and defenceless. But Proverbs tells us God hates this kind of partiality.
On the flip side, God loves impartiality.
'Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
Then you will win favour and a good name
in the sight of God and man.'
When we treat others the way we would want to be treated - with love and faithfulness - we find favour with both God and other people.
Using the Right Measure
'Good judgment wins favour' Proverbs 13:15
Wisdom teaches us to treat other people impartially. This especially effects the judgments we make about other people. Consider some of Jesus words, which reflect the wisdom of the these Old Testament proverbs.
'Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.' Matthew 7:1-2
It is too easy to use one measure for ourselves and our own actions, while using a much harsher measure for others. Can you think of ways this week where you've made a big deal about the faults of another, while maybe neglecting to think too much about your own faults? What do we do if all we can see is the faults of the other?
Resetting the Scales
We can struggle to honestly apply the same judgments to ourselves as to others. Thankfully, Jesus has come and reset the scales.
'But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.' James 3:17-18
Jesus came from heaven, the embodiment of wisdom. Jesus saw all our faults perfectly, be chose the way of peace, and paid the price himself - his life was sown in death at the cross, but then he was raised to bring a harvest of righteousness. He offered mercy and grace, so that we could be forgiven and so be given a wonderful new set of scales for measuring out to the world. Where we confess our failings, he forgives and where we forgive others, his face shines upon us.
Living a Favourable Life
Why not look out for a situation this week where you're struggling to relate to others? Ask yourself, what would it look like to be impartial in this moment, to treat others the same way you want to be treated?
About the Author
Jai Wright is a Christian Minister, who founded and leads MAKE Church in Mackay, Qld. He recently published the book, Life Plugged In: Connecting with the Source of Peace, Power and Purpose.
You might like to think a little bit more about your spiritual health, by taking the Spiritual Health Check Score Card here.