Saturday, October 27, 2007
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Leviticus 19:15 – Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favouritism to the great, but judge your neighbour fairly. (NIV)

I am terrible about judging competitions. I tend to root for the underdog, instead of dealing with things fairly. In the past, I've judged Hallowe'en costume contests, cutest pet awards, and cake-tasting competitions. A couple of years ago, I even judged a senior high speech contest. I found it difficult not to give higher marks to the kids from rural schools. I wanted to be impartial, but I couldn't disconnect the kids from their backgrounds. I wanted to make up for the deprivations and disadvantages that the poorer kids had. Instead of judging the presentation and content of the speeches, I gave points for effort. When my marks were compared with the rest of the judges, mine were entirely different. I was never asked back to judge the competition again.

The Bible warns us about showing partiality or favouritism. If we decide issues between different parties because of who they are and not what the issue is, then we're guilty of playing favourites. This is anathema to God and something that we need to really learn. In God's eyes, there are no favourites — all have sinned and are in need of salvation. He deals with people equitably — on an equal footing — and He expects us to do the same. It may not be socially or politically correct, but it is theologically sound. God judges us the way in which we judge others. And if our judgments are poor, slanted, or suspect, then He will deal with us according to our own standards, which could mean that mercy and grace are set aside.

Prayer: Lord God, help us to make better choices, decisions, and judgments in all of our lives. Convict us to be fair and to show everyone, rich or poor, wealthy or working class, impartiality. Teach us the practical wisdom behind such ideals. In Your holy name, we pray. Amen.

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John Stuart <>
Knoxville, Tennessee, USA

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