One of the places I rented in the past was a magnet for squirrels. So yes, the curriculum of creation provides yet another lesson through the squirrel! The squirrel seemed to absolutely favour a spot tucked away in the corner of wooden framework just below the high ceiling, in my bedroom mind you, to build its nest. Reluctantly I had to get rid of the nest lined with so much of cotton (where do they find that???) due to my allergies to the dust. No matter how many times I did so, the persistent squirrel would keep re-building and at that exact location too.
Once during an attempt to clear the nest, an adorable baby squirrel fell out. I tried to draw its attention by offering a saucer of milk. None of my attempts to befriend it worked… it dashed out of my bedroom, onto the balcony. I tried to protect it, but it was so fearful it dashed away, down the steps and into my landlady’s garden. Next thing I heard was a squeal and the purr of a content cat. (I was spared the agony of being witness to the crime!)
I was miserable. This vulnerable fragile new born became victim. In one sense I felt guilty too. I cried out to God and asked Him why He had allowed it. His response startled me – it surely wasn’t what I had expected to hear. He pointed out that I was being partial to the squirrel! “What about the cat? Doesn’t it need its food too? So why are you concerned about protecting the squirrel and not concerned about the cat’s hunger?” God reminded me that it is all His creation and it was He who created the food chain.
It made me ask myself, “What right do I have to intervene in His order of things?” I was reminded of the verse, “For God does not show favouritism” (Romans 2:11). We human beings are quick to show favouritism – we prefer a specific group of friends to hang out with and thus we ‘clique’… we have criteria to select who is included and who isn’t. We want our choices to be approved so that we will be accepted. Jesus on the other hand chose to hang out with those who were normally pushed aside. He didn’t care about all the murmuring. Being fully aware as to how onlookers were responding to His choice of company didn’t change a thing. He didn’t show favouritism – He was seen socialising with tax collectors, Samaritans, prostitutes, women… Jesus didn’t see the ‘labels’ but rather the hearts… He has set the example – what excuse do we have?
Paul urges Timothy ‘to do nothing out of favouritism’ (1 Timothy 5:21). In fact James gives an example of discrimination. “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?” (James 2:3). He continues in verse 9, “But if you show favouritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers”. James makes it clear that favouritism is at par with adultery and murder – committing these acts make you a law breaker!
- How many times do we reject people thinking to ourselves (not out loud obviously), “Oh no, we can’t be seen with this person or that person! What will other people think of us? They will misunderstand us”???
- What is the basis or the yardstick we use to make decisions? Do we make choices based on one’s education, economic status, gender, successes, reputation, role in life…. what else? Do we make the poor servant to “sit on the floor by my feet”
We may make certain decisions to be accepted by society or the Christian body. That is our choice as we have free will. However, we need to bear in mind our choice may be a ‘sin’ in God’s eyes – as the Bible is clear that we shouldn’t show favouritism. Ouch!