The word translated “partiality” is the Greek word adiakritos. It is a compound word and this is the only place in the New Testament where this word is used. The Greek word has two distinct meanings, but those meanings complement each other. I am describing them one at a time and you will see how the two meanings balance each other out.
The first relates to a person’s treatment of others. A person with wisdom from above makes no distinctions in his or her treatment of others. This is a wisdom that is free from bias and favoritism. It is not influenced by another person’s apparel, rank or position, physical or mental condition, age, color or creed, but is fair and just to all.
General Robert E. Lee was a devout follower of Jesus Christ. It is said that soon after the end of the American Civil War, he visited a church in Washington D.C. During the communion service he knelt beside a black man. An onlooker said to him later, “How could you do that?” Lee responded, “My friend, all ground is level beneath the cross.”
A person who exercises Godly wisdom shows kindness to all, and does not engage in negative criticism of others, or use sarcasm when speaking about others. In his autobiography, Mahatma Gandhi wrote that during his student days he read the Gospels seriously and considered converting to Christianity. He believed that in the teachings of Jesus he could find the solutions to the caste system that was dividing the people of India. So one Sunday he decided to attend services at a nearby church and talk to the minister about becoming a Christian. When he entered the sanctuary, however, the usher refused to give him a seat and suggested that he go worship with his own people. Gandhi left the church and never returned. “If Christians have caste differences also,” he said, “I might as well remain a Hindu.” That usher’s prejudice not only betrayed Jesus but also turned a person away from trusting Him as Savior and Lord.
Are there people you look down upon or refuse to associate with? Are there people you speak evil about or make fun of when they are not around? What about your thoughts and attitudes toward “certain people”? We all have our prejudices that we have to be careful about and fight against, don’t we? The following story appeared in the newsletter “Our America”:
Dodie Gadient, a schoolteacher for thirteen years, decided to travel across America and see the sights she had taught about. Traveling alone in a truck with a trailer in tow, she launched out. One afternoon, rounding a curve on I-5 near Sacramento, California, in rush-hour traffic, the water pump blew on her truck. She was tired, exasperated, scared, and alone. In spite of the traffic jam she caused, no one seemed interested in helping. Leaning up against the trailer, she prayed, “Please, God, send me an angel . . . preferably one with mechanical experience.”
Within four minutes a huge Harley drove up, ridden by an enormous man sporting long, black hair, a beard and tattooed arms. With an incredible air of confidence, he jumped off and, without even glancing at Dodie, went to work on the truck. Within another few minutes, he flagged down a larger truck, attached a tow chain to the frame of the disabled Chevy, and whisked the whole 56-foot rig off the freeway onto a side street, where he calmly continued to work on the water pump.
The intimidated schoolteacher was too dumbfounded to talk, especially when she read the paralyzing words on the back of his leather jacket: “Hell’s Angels – California”. As he finished the task, she finally got up the courage to say, “Thanks so much”, and carry on a brief conversation. Noticing her surprise at the whole ordeal, he looked her straight in the eye and mumbled, “Don’t judge a book by its cover. You may not know who you’re talking to.” With that, he smiled, closed the hood of the truck, and straddled his Harley. With a wave, he was gone as fast as he had appeared.
Was this an “angel in disguise?” We don’t know, but why couldn’t an angel take on such a human form? Maybe he was just a “good Samaritan” whose heart God had touched in this desperate situation. Either way, God sent an “angel” in answer to her prayer and he met her need. One lesson learned was that people shouldn’t always be judged by what they look like on the outside.
The Greek word we’ve been studying, adiakritos, also means “unwavering”. Wisdom from above is evidenced by an unwavering loyalty to God and His Word. It does not play politics with the truth, and is undivided in it’s committment to God and to others. Godly wisdom does not succumb to peer pressure, and is not swayed by selfish interests.
One who possesses wisdom from above is free from ambiguity. The Lord Jesus Christ says in Matthew 5:37: “But let your statement be ‘yes,yes’, and ‘no, no’.” The word “no” is one of the few words in the English language that cannot be misunderstood. In the Old Testament book of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego demonstrated unswerving obedience to God. In Daniel 3:17,18 they said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “If so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods, nor worship the image which you have set up.”
Proverbs 24:10 says, “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.” You can easily determine the caliber of a person by the amount of opposition it takes to discourage him.
In the 1960’s, drug companies were presenting nearly 700 applications a year to the Federal Drug Administration for new medicines. The New Drug Section had sixty days to review each drug before giving approval or requesting more data.
A few months after Dr. Frances Kelsey joined the FDA, an established pharmaceutical firm in Ohio applied for a license to market a new drug, Kevadon. In liquid form the drug seemed to relieve nausea in early pregnancy. It was given to millions of expectant women, mostly in Europe, Asia, an Africa. Although scientific studies revealed harmful side effects, the pharmaceutical firm printed 66,957 leaflets declaring its safety. The company exerted great pressure on Dr. Kelsey to give permission for labels to be printed, in anticipation of the drug’s approval.
Dr. Kelsey reviewed the data and said no. Through several rounds of applications, she continued to find the data “unsatisfactory”. After a fourteen-month struggle, the company humbly withdrew its application. “Kevadon” was thalidomide, and by that time, the horror of thalidomide deformities and missing limbs on newborn babies was becoming well publicized! One firm “no” decision by Dr. Kelsey spared untold agony in the United States. (taken from God’s Little Devotional Book)
An illustration of the word “unwavering” that just came to my mind is the description of a Christian that the apostle Paul gives in Ephesians 6:13-17. In this passage of Scripture, the Christian is described as a soldier, clothed in the armor of God. The command is to “stand firm” and resist the devil. It is interesting and significant to note that there is no armor for the soldier’s back. The soldier was not to retreat in the battle against Satan, or in the defense of the Gospel of Christ.
May God give us the grace and the wisdom to be impartial in our treatment of others and unwavering in our committment to do what is true and right in the sight of God. The manifestation of these qualities in our lives is further evidence that we are exercising Godly wisdom, the “wisdom from above”.