I solemnly command you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus and the highest angels to obey these instructions without taking sides or showing favoritism to anyone. (1 Timothy 5:21)
Every parent knows that when it comes to their children, they have no favourites! There are days (or weeks and months!) when the company of one child is more enjoyable than another - where one child is easier to like than another.
Yet even at these times, a good parent will love their children equally and show no favoritism in dealing with them and resolving any problems. When a parent shows favoritism to one child, resentment quickly builds in the others and the unity of the family is threatened.
As a leader of others you'll need to ensure your treatment of them shows no favoritism. That won't always be easy. Inevitably their will be some you find yourself liking some more than others. There will be some you feel greater sympathy for than others. Equally, there will be some who seem to like you and others who are ambivalent toward you at best.
Yet despite this, Paul warns against "taking sides or showing favouritism."
If you've ever witnessed a sporting contest in which the impartiality of the referee is called into question you'll have seen how quickly things degenerate. Every decision is questioned and resentment soon leads to anger.
A similar thing can happen among those you're leading if they sense you are anything but fair in your decision-making and your interactions with them.
This of course, is sometimes easier said than done. Emotions and our own ego can easily get in the way of our intent to treat everyone equally. When confronted with situations in which your tempted to favour one young person over another, ask God to give you his love for each person - a love that will always be equal. Then pray for that wisdom and grace and you express that love through your leadership.
In what situations have you already been tempted to take sides or show favouritism?
What do you need to do in order to remain impartial, and loving to all?