A Dangerous Game

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Games are fun… or at least they’re supposed to be. Yet, there is one universally popular game that isn’t fun at all – just dangerous. Some who play the game are blissfully unaware, while others play it with great intentionality. This divisive, destructive game has a simple name. We call it “Favorites.”

The game isn’t new. While I can’t be sure when or where it originated, there’s no question that an active game of “Favorites” was being played in the home of Isaac and Rebekah. Their son, Esau, was a skillful hunter, but their son, Jacob, was happy to stay at home…. “Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob,” (Genesis 25:27-28, NIV).

Isaac and Rebekah’s family wrestled with many complex issues (Genesis 25:19-33:20), which tends to be true for many families who find themselves in conflict. Even so, there’s no doubt in my mind that favoritism was a significant contributing factor to their internal struggles.

As we consider their story – and perhaps our own – it’s not surprising that in the game of “Favorites” there are winners – and, well… losers. Those who find themselves on the short end of the stick may feel diminished, inadequate, undervalued, and even unloved. While favoritism doesn’t always result in a full-blown conflict, over time, there’s a decent chance it can compromise the overall well-being of relationships within the family.

Final thoughts…

It’s not uncommon for those who play “Favorites” to either be unaware or in denial concerning their involvement in this dangerous game. When this is the case, the issue of favoritism becomes an even tougher problem to tackle.

Is favoritism creating division within your family? If you don’t know the answer to that question, or if the answer is “yes,” go to the Father. If you’ll come to Him with a humble heart, He can help you recognize and address the issues in a way that can bring about hope and healing in your home. It may take some time, but don’t let that deter you. Instead, look to your Savior. Trust Him to lead the way. Then, walk the path.


Dale Pyne – CEO, Peacemaker Ministries

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