Wisdom is Impartial
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. (James 3:17, emphasis added)
Impartial is hard.
Especially when it concerns people with whom we are partial (duh)—our family and friends. When friends and family are involved, it’s easy to be ruled by emotions rather than reality.
How different would your decisions, your counsel, your reactions, and your opinions be if “nameless individuals” were part of the situations you evaluated, or conflicts you sought to resolve?
Wyndham has always been considered “a safe place,” in part because of his wisdom to be impartial. One’s position or relationship to him really didn’t matter. This did not always come easy, however. He learned wisdom from God as he sought to determine WHAT was right, not WHO was right.
What a miry walk we walk when we let personalities rule our emotions, rather than principles of right and wrong.
Principle over personality.
This is an axiom he practices and teaches. What’s the Biblical principle? What is right?
Jesus, in Mark 12:14 is seen among men as a man of integrity.
They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not…?”
How I admire this quality in Jesus. How hard this quality has been for me, one who has often been a people pleaser, wanting everyone happy. This is something I have worked hard on in my character. Could the description of Jesus be said of us? Or would it more likely read…you are often swayed by personalities, because you pay attention to who they are and how they respond, stretching God’s truth in accordance with your emotions. Ouch.
I must often ask who I am most trying to please–God, or someone else. God, or me. (I can be partial to myself as well.)
I’ve often watched Wyndham imitate this quality of Jesus as he made hard decisions, unpopular decisions, “reacted to” decisions—all while seeking to be impartial and to practice principle over personality. But like I said earlier, this quality has also made him a sought after “safe place.”
How does partiality/impartiality play out in our lives:
- When we are close to a husband or a wife in a marriage and take sides without hearing both sides, and subsequently fail to point both back to the Scriptures?
- When our child appears to be wronged by someone and our hair begins to bristle, but we don’t hear the “other side of the story?”
- When someone we know is hurt by someone who they see as an authority figure, and we protect either the authority figure or the other person without hearing both out?
(Proverbs 18:17 is such an important teaching of wisdom: The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him.)
- Or, when we assume someone is “more right” because of their education, standing in society, or even ethnicity?
- When we are asked to do something “shady” by a superior, knowing if we don’t do it our job could be in jeopardy?
- When we listen to and participate in “put-downs” or gossip, assuming information is accurate and needs to be spread?
- When we realize someone we love is not following the Scriptures, but they are really nice and sincere so we just “let it slide” so as not to create any uncomfortability?
Impartial or partial? What is right over who is right? Principle or personality?
Which one wins in our lives.
Wisdom from above is impartial.
Principle over personality, and holding to what is right over who is right is not “loveless,” but expresses sincere love for another.
Impartiality exhibits true, unconditional love. Partiality is sentimental, but not loving. Partiality creates false security and leaves others with greater concern over what we think than what God says. That’s not real love. Jesus spoke the way of God in accordance with the truth, while embodying perfect love and extreme grace.
Partiality is subjective, rather than objective. This creates insecurity because it’s based on feelings rather than a truth that does not change. Therefore, partiality is inconsistent. Impartiality brings security, maybe not always felt in the short run, but true in the long haul. We all need advocates in our lives, but we need advocacy backed with truth.
I often want someone to take “my side,” but not at the expense of truth. While I always know I’m deeply loved by my husband, I count on his impartial counsel. I am eternally grateful for this. I’m thankful that as an elder he takes seriously this charge:
I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism. (1 Timothy 5:21)