Ever since the age of eight, I strongly have maintained that my parents favored my younger brother over me. Don't get me wrong: I knew my parents loved me. I was just convinced that they loved my brother more.
Before I continue, I want to acknowledge that my recollection of my childhood is shaped by my own bias. I have discussed this issue with my parents at length throughout my childhood and adolescence, and they never agreed with my assessment. (It wasn't until my brother and I were both adults that they began to see some credibility in my claims.) But nevertheless, whether the alleged favoritism was real or perceived, the result is the same: it had a major impact on my view of my parents, and I transferred that over to my Father in heaven.
The main thing that used to upset me was that I felt my brother and I were not equally disciplined. Name any transgression of your choice: coloring on the walls, breaking an expensive vase, throwing a temper tantrum, etc. My position has always been that my parents would discipline me harshly for my behavior. But if my brother were at fault, my parents would find a way to excuse it. "He's so little, he doesn't know any better!" was the justification I was given when he was only three years old. As my brother grew, that line was not going to work, so my parents found other reasons to indulge in his every whim: "It's just easier to give him what he wants than causing a scene in the store," or, "We only gave in because he doesn't deal with disappointment as well as you do." Whether or not I was assessing the situation accurately, it caused me to resent my brother and distrust my parents' love for me. Every discussion about this with my parents would end with my mother saying, "Just remember, you are both my children, and I love you equally." I would think (and sometimes even vocalize): "Yeah. Sure, mom. That could be true in theory, but it really doesn't feel that way in practice."
So Christ died for the little wretch. SO WHAT?Fast forward to today. I hated my sister in Christ. People tried to reason with me in an effort to bring me out of this sin, saying, "Can't you just view her as someone Christ died for?" Honestly, I could see where they were going with this, but it meant nothing to me. So Christ died for the little wretch. SO WHAT? Christ died for me too, didn't He? Does this mean I get to misbehave too? Look, I get it in theory. But when I see people making excuses for this sister's inappropriate behavior, it certainly doesn't feel true in practice.
What did this do to my walk? It drove a wedge between me and God. I did not go to Him for my needs. I figured it is pointless for me to ask Him for things, since there are other Christians asking for the same things, and He'd probably just give those blessings to them instead of me. The Bible says "You have not because you do not ask." But I did not ask because I was convinced that all parents are the same, and that included my Heavenly Father. I read passages of Scripture which describe how God loves to lavish blessings upon His children, and I believed it. But I was convinced that these passages were referring to His other children, not me.
I hated this sister in Christ because I saw her doing things that I judged to be inappropriate. Did God do anything? Nooooo. He just let her get away with it (or so it seemed). But if I were to do those same things, God would discipline me. Yes, I knew the Bible says that those He loves He disciplines (Hebrews 12), but I felt like that's only half the story. I felt that the Bible should also mention that that those He loves more are the ones He apparently lets off scot-free. Never mind that I deserve hell and I'm getting off scot-free myself. All that mattered was that this other person appeared to be getting away with things that I wasn't getting away with, so that meant God loves her more. Makes sense, right?
To make matters worse, I also spent years of my life thinking that God loves His sons more than He loves His daughters. The simple fact that He chose to put me in a woman's body was an act of cruelty, as far as I was concerned. The souls He favored were created as men, given to rule over those children He didn't love as much, created as women. If you are a woman, I assumed that was because He just didn't like you as much. It's just the way it is, because parents aren't fair. I grew up in a very old-school Italian-American family. The women exist to wait on the chauvinistic men. In God's economy, "submit to your husband" couldn't possibly be any different that what I witnessed growing up, could it?
Well I do not deserve it, but God has had mercy on me. He has shown me that these ideas are complete garbage, manufactured in hell's great factory of lies. God is perfect, and human parents are not. Human parents are going to fail us every time. If we insist on judging the character of God based on the actions of our sinful parents, we will never understand God. If we really want to know the true character of God, we must base our understanding of Him on Scripture.
Perhaps you were the victim of physical or emotional abuse. Perhaps you were abandoned. Perhaps your parents repeatedly broke their promises to you. Friends, this has NOTHING to do with God. And so now when Satan tries to feed me this trash, I lash out with my sword. My Bible tells me that God is not a respecter of persons, "for there is no partiality with God" (Romans 2:11). Is God a hypocrite, that He would show partiality but instruct me not to do the same? (James 1). NO. I will come boldly to my Daddy's throne! My requests are not insignificant to Him, for if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe me? (Matthew 6:30). Furthermore, "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32). How can I possibly cling to this preposterous idea that God favors His other children over me, when He poured out the wrath meant for me upon His son, with whom He is well pleased? (Matthew 3:17).
It pleased the Lord to bruise Christ (Isaiah 53:10). Jesus could at any time have protested and cried "Foul!" It is not fair that He was punished for something I did, yet He did not open His mouth (Isaiah 53:7). How then, can I complain that God has treated another Christian unfairly by letting them get away with bad behavior while I supposedly suffer under rebuke? How can I hate another when Christ died for me, while yet a sinner myself? (Romans 5:8).
Perhaps you did not experience favoritism in your family (real or perceived), but your parents sinned against you in other ways. Perhaps you were the victim of physical or emotional abuse. Perhaps you were abandoned. Perhaps your parents repeatedly broke their promises to you. Friends, this has NOTHING to do with God. God is not out to hurt you. God will never leave you or forsake you. God will never lie to you!!! When the accuser tries to condemn us, we know there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1) So why would we willingly believe these ridiculous, unfounded accusations against the Lord Himself?
This is a call to brethren everywhere to fight the good fight of faith. Sling those swords, sisters. It's time to cut these lies up once and for all and defend the truth about our God, even if it is only to ourselves! That being said, I'd like to report that I HAVE OFFICIALLY BEEN SET FREE OF THE SIN OF HATRED!