Balanced Judgment

A particular verse has been weighing (pun intended) upon my heart lately, and I can see its application everywhere.  It comes from Proverbs 11:1, “A false balance is an abomination to the LORD, but a just weight is his delight,” (ESV).  Imagine going into the grocery store for some delicious Berres Bros. Highlander Grogg Coffee (not a sponsor; they just have the best Highlander Grogg I’ve ever drunk).  You wait, as the line for this rich, delicious drink is long.  The person ahead of you is finally taking the scoop and puts the beans into his bag, weighs the bag and it comes to a certain amount per pound.  You notice the weight and the price.  That seems fair enough, but you don’t as much money to spend.  After doing the math, you come to the amount of coffee you can afford, and grab the scoop, weigh yours until you have the weight you want, and print the price tag.  You look and realize that the price you were expecting is not the price you received.  In fact, you’re paying the same amount as the guy before you, but you got less coffee.  (This is fictitious–hypothetical; Berres Bros. would not do this to you).  Yours is more per pound than the guy in front of you.  How do you feel?  Angry?  Outraged?  Confused?  Cheated?  Like an injustice had been done?

That’s what this verse is getting at.  Back in the day when goods and coinage was weighed, merchants would easily use false balances and false weights to make more money.  They may use one set of weights that were lighter to give a person their goods.  When the silver or gold pieces were then put on the balance, they’d use a heavier set of weights to weigh the money so that more was paid than was given.  That’s an unjust balance, and that is an abomination to the Lord.

Stop and think about the balances in our lives.  We have an internal balance by which we judge situations and people.  How good are we at keeping a just balance?  Are we judging each person or situation fairly or do we allow bad prejudices (race, ethnicity, weight, clothes, etc.) to weigh the balance down or “good”* prejudices (beauty/handsomeness, strength, intelligence, financial status) to lighten the balance?  Let us be careful with our hearts, our words, and our actions.  May we use a just balance as best we can.  We won’t be perfect, but we can be progressing.

*or course, by “good” I am not saying these are right, but often considered good or favorable traits in our culture.  By allowing these traits to outweigh justice is still an abomination.

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