Saturday, October 30, 2010

Hey... That's Not Right!

I love Sci-Fi movies. As a kid, a favorite was the 1951 “The Day the Earth Stood Still.” When the remake came out, I couldn’t wait to see it. I did not remember the child character Jaden Smith played in the film. Inwardly I fumed, “Will Smith’ must have used his power to get his son into that script. That’s so unfair. They ruined a classic movie.” My daughter heard my gripes along these lines. I told her, “It’s nepotism.” She said, “How do you know that? Do you know the facts?”

Uhhhhh. Guess who was right?

Nepotism is “Favoritism to a relation, as by granting employment.”1 The operative word being “favoritism.” That’s the issue. There is nothing wrong with granting employment to a relative or letting Junior take over the family business. That is commendable. But when it’s done with favoritism, it is wrong. Favoritism implies someone else got the shaft.

Showing partiality, respect of persons, unabashed bias, being unfair, these are traits despised by our society. That’s the underlying suspicion that upset me about “The Day the Earth Stood Still.”

Nepotism has to do with the exercise of authority. How the authority is applied determines if it’s nepotism or love. If it involves favoritism and injustice, it’s wrong. If it is done fairly, then it’s virtue.

The Bible says “with the Lord our God there is no injustice or partiality or bribery.”2 God’s character is fair, for “all His ways are just.”3 Authors Bickel and Jantz say, “God doesn’t grade on a curve, and He doesn’t play favorites.”4 All His ways are just! Because the Lord is perfectly impartial we admire impartiality in human beings. Social admiration is often directed to behavior congruent with the character of God.

Now we humans are a different kettle of fish. With a couple of rightly placed questions my bad attitude toward the Smiths was revealed. I had to admit I was accusing them. Why was I not so critical about others. How did George W. Bush get into politics? Doesn’t respected Christian author Josh McDowell get his son Sean exposure on a major level? That didn’t bother me. I was making assumptions without facts.

My bad. Will and Jaden … sorry.

To add insult to injury, I found out there was a child character in the original “Day...” Go figure?

Let’s face it, playing favorites and judging others often happens among us. One of Job’s comforters in the Bible, young Elihu boasted, “I will show partiality to no one.”5 Words are cheap, buddy. We tend to give close friends more stock than a stranger. Our kid is likely to get the nod over an acquaintance’s child sometimes.

So the next time you’re ready to rail on “the teacher’s pet,” the boss, or a fellow employee – repeat this prayer: “Lord, don’t let me be partial and unjust. Stop me from glibly accusing others of being that way. Enable me to be like you, fair and impartial, while not failing to bless my family and close friends. Amen.”

Well, I have to go. I’m gonna check out Billy Gray as “Bobby” in the original “Day the Earth Stood Still.”
Say, I wonder if Billy Gray had connections? How did that kid get the role anyway?

1 - Webster’s Standard Dictionary, (USA: Trident Reference Publishing, 2006)
2 - 2 Chronicles 19:7
3 - Deuteronomy 32:4
4 - Bruce Bickel and Stan Jantz, Evidence for Faith 101, (Eugene, Ore: Harvest House Publishers, 2008) 70
5 - Job 32:21

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Quotes of Note ... The Invisible World

“Spiritual warfare is learning to recognize the strategies, refusing to cooperate with them, and aggressively cutting off the schemes of the devil in Jesus’ name.” Dean Sherman

“those who protest that God cannot exist because there is too much evil evident in life… Evil exists; therefore, the Creator does not. That is categorically stated… If evil exists, one must assume that good exists in order to know the difference. If good exists, one must assume that a moral law exists by which to measure good and evil. But if a moral law exists, must not one posit an ultimate source of moral law, or at least an objective basis for a moral law? By an objective basis, I mean something that is transcendingly true at all times, regardless of whether I believed it or not.” Ravi Zacharias

“But the Devil is no big threat to God’s purposes; he is not even remotely comparable in power. He has been given a limited time before his final judgment to try to prove his case, just as all other moral beings who have chosen to live in rebellion against heaven.” W.A. Pratney

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I've served as a life-long missionary in Samoa, the Pacific region, India, and now in Pennsylvania. The Christian faith is reasonable and works in real life. It is true to the facts. Hope you enjoy some of the thoughts. I appreciate feedback.

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