Playing Favorites


The problem of parents favoring one child over another is as old as the Bible. Isaac loved Esau more than Jacob. When he grew older, Jacob should have remembered what it felt like to be loved less, yet he loved Joseph more than his other sons.


Even today, parents may play favorites. Unfortunately, if we felt unloved or loved less by our parents, we can carry insecurity into our relationships. We become people-pleasers, desperate to earn the approval of others.

Another sad result is that we may strive to earn God’s approval, just as we may have worked to earn our parent’s love. But God’s salvation can never be earned. He freely gives His love and salvation because of Christ’s sacrifice for us.

And all the while, the children in our life watch us more closely than we might realize.

  • Do we favor attractive children over plain ones?
  • Athletes over the uncoordinated?
  • Smart children over those who struggle academically?

Let’s be careful not to treat children in a way that will cause them to doubt the love of their heavenly Father.

But what if you are an adult who was neglected in favor of someone more attractive, more talented, or more athletic? Are you struggling to feel truly accepted by your heavenly Father? Study the promises in His Word and personalize them by inserting your name. Then rest in the assurance that you are, indeed, precious to the Lord.

As someone once said, in God’s eyes, we’re all His favorite!

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About Ava Pennington

Ava Pennington is thoroughly enjoying her second career as an author, teacher, and speaker. She moved from New York to Florida, leaving a twenty-year corporate career as a Human Resources executive. But don’t call her retired! She now teaches a weekly, interdenominational Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) class of 300+ women from September through May. Of course, Ava writes. She has written for organizations such as Focus on the Family, Christianity Today, and Haven Ministries. She has also been published in 25 anthologies, including nineteen Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Her newest book, Daily Reflections on the Names of God: A Devotional, is published by Revell Books and endorsed by Kay Arthur, founder of Precepts International. Ava has also co-authored two children’s picture books, Do You Love Me More? and Will I See You Today? If you’re looking for a speaker, she delights in challenging audiences with relevant, enjoyable presentations. For more information, please visit


Playing Favorites — 2 Comments

  1. Good topic, Ava. Yes, we all have our favorites, whether it’s friends, children, grandchildren or even our parents or grandparents. The trick is not letting anyone know. :)

    The thing is, we don’t always “connect” with our kids. Maybe we have 2 children and one has a similar personality, so we have common interests and all. Our other child is the total opposite in personality, so we find it harder to talk to them or do things with them.

    I have that. And I also have a special needs adult daughter. I’ve learned to find common ground with my child whose personality is different from mine. And while we don’t do a ton of stuff together, when we are together, we have a great time.

    I have 2 grandchildren – a granddaughter (age 10) and a grandson (age 8). You’d think I’d be closer with my granddaughter, but I’m not. While my granddaughter loves reading and some other things I enjoy, my grandson has my personality totally. My son, DIL, and granddaughter all are introverted and have social anxiety. My grandson is the total opposite. They have no idea what to do with him. Ha!! But me? I have a blast with him. Because my son, youngest daughter, and husband are all introverts and have some social anxiety. I’m surrounded!! Or at least I was until Lucas was born.

    Still, I have no real favorites. I just have people I relate to better, that’s all. It’s not a case of love. It’s a case of personality.

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