Tuesday, August 14, 2018
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, …whatever is right…think about such things.
Proverbs 11:1 A false balance is an abomination to the LORD, but a just weight is His delight.
“That’s not fair!”
How many times have parents heard those words from their children? How many times have we used them to describe undesirable conditions in our own lives? When we evaluate the real motivation for those words, we must conclude that we have been given a wonderful gift from God – a desire for justice.
In Scripture, justice and righteousness are inseparable. It is not possible for something to be right and not be just, nor is it possible for something to be just and not be right. But we don’t want that to be true because our personal preferences and desires are not realized in such a black and white world. It may be just to punish every criminal the same for every similar crime, but when we or someone we love is the criminal, we don’t think it’s right to have the sentence imposed. We look hard for various justifications to ask the judge for a reduced sentence. We hire lawyers who give us the best chance of avoiding the most serious consequences. And when the sentence is finally imposed, we claim it is not fair if we get more than we thought we should.
Our underlying problem is this – we are still seeking to serve self rather than honor God. We chose the action that got us in trouble because we thought it would please us and bring us something of value. Then, when we realized that the action itself was unrighteous, we did everything we could to protect our self-value by avoiding the stigma of the consequences.
We seem to apply that philosophy to many parts of our lives. We are constantly making choices based on their immediate benefit to our emotional needs, our physical pleasure, or our financial goals. The author of Proverbs refers to this when he says, a false balance is an abomination to the LORD, but a just weight is His delight.
When I was in high school, I got a job at a grocery store working in the meat department. My main job was to clean all the equipment, but soon I was also waiting on customers from behind the counter. There was no self-serve in those days, so everything had to be weighed and wrapped following the customer’s selection.
I remember the training process the boss took me through to learn how to weigh meat properly. His main point of emphasis was this – once you have placed the meat on the scale, take both hands away and hold them where the customer can see that you are not touching the scale. “We want the customer to know we are honest,” he said. I was taught to have just (righteous) scales.
That principle applies to every part of our lives. Every decision we make about our goals and activities must be made so that they are in perfect agreement with God’s holy character. That’s Just and fair because He alone is righteous. The temptation to put our thumb on the scale and manipulate the outcomes of our lives is very real and powerful. We must understand that all our attempts to bring value to our lives at the expense of justice and righteousness do not change the very nature of God, who is just and righteous. His justice will prevail, and the consequences of our unrighteous choices will result in serious consequences to our lives.
It is vital that we not only think about right things, but that we do them. However, be aware of the subtle temptation of Satan to convince us that our definition of right is valid. Our understanding of right and wrong is only accurate when it is based on the unchanging, absolute truth of God’s Word. Truth is not relative, therefore, definitions of right and wrong are unchangeable, regardless of our personal desires and emotional influences.
We have an incomparable gift from God in our salvation – the knowledge of the truth, and it is able to set us free to walk on level paths of righteousness and justice. But that will only happen if we choose to deny our self-validating desires and live according to the way of the Upright One.
Make that choice today!