What’s your favorite movie? Your favorite restaurant? Your favorite outfit?
It’s nice having things you prefer and that you go back to regularly. However, while it’s good to have favorites when it comes to things, it can be devastating to have favorites when it comes to children.
The story of Joseph in Genesis 37-46 shows what happens to a family when parents play favorites with their children. At the time, Joseph was the only son born to Jacob from his favorite wife, Rachel. So even though Jacob had ten other sons from his first wife, Leah, he considered Joseph to be the best.
This favoritism so badly damaged Joseph’s relationship with his family that, “when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him” (Gen 37:4 NIV).
They hated Joseph so badly that they wanted to kill him and settled on selling him to slavery (37:12-36). Although, while God used this dysfunctional family and this circumstance to save Joseph’s family and to bring himself glory, Jacob had to live believing Joseph had been killed (37:33) and Joseph had to live in a foreign land with foreign customs, believing he would never see his father and family again (39:1).
All of this trouble could have been avoided had Jacob loved all of his sons equally. Playing the Favorites Game when it comes to our children is a dangerous path that can only lead to hatred and regret.
Copyright 2016 by Molly Farnsley. Use by permission only.