Godly Attributes of a Believer – Judging Fairly
Godly Attributes of a Believer (7)
The law of sowing and reaping governs everything in life, whether agriculturally or in business or in relationships with others. We have to be very mindful of our actions, for it is easy to judge others irrationally because of offense, real or implied. Therefore, we must govern our thoughts towards others.
We should be just as compassionate to strangers as we are to family members. Rabbi Avrohom Ehrman teaches that judging fairly means recognising that “had we seen this [particular] action or bad qualilty in a close friend or relative…we would …find some way to excuse or overlook it. It is only because a stranger is involved that we condemn this action or failing.” (Telushkin, “You Shall Be Holy,” p89).
How many times have we heard within the church that sickness, sufferings, or misfortunes are punishments from God?
I know that I’ve heard this said before from Christians. Everything that’s happening to you…
must mean that God’s closing a door
you should stop what your doing
you shouldn’t move
you must have done something wrong
your kids are like they are because you have sin in your life
Isn’t this exactly what Job’s friends did when he lost everything? All of his children died, suffered severe illness, lost all of his wealth…obviously these were punishments from God, against Whom he must have sinned. And what happens at the end of the book? God rails against Job’s friends for their unkind words.
So now, get yourselves seven young bulls and seven rams, go to my servant Iyov, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering. My servant Iyov will pray for you—because him I will accept—so that I won’t punish you as your boorishness deserves; because you have not spoken rightly about me, as my servant Iyov has.”
Concise Oxford English Dictionary (Boor)
boor /bɔː, bʊə/■ noun a rough and bad-mannered person.—DERIVATIVES boorish adjective boorishly adverb boorishness noun—ORIGIN 16th century
Blaming people for their suffering is unkind; its malicious, and only increases ones suffering. It’s bad enough to be suffering, but even worse to be told that the suffering we’re under is deserved and is our fault in some way.
This is life. Things happen. It’s all part of our soul correction, how we respond to different events in our lives, whether blessings, sufferings, illnesses, or calamity.
and this includes how we evaluate others. We should ask ourselves the following questions when we find ourselves thinking or speaking critically of others.
Am I being fair?
And if I’m not, why am I drawn to evaluate others so harshly?
When its appropriate to judge another cautiously.
Rabbi Joshua taught this dictum: “Regard all men as if they were thieves, yet honor them as you would honor Rabbi Gamliel.” (Ibid., p91).
Rabbi Joshua was asked by a man for hospitality, which he provided, i.e., food, shelter, and a bed in the attic. He removed the ladder from the attic, and the man injured himself as he was attempting to get away after stealing some items.
Treat others generously, but take actions to guard your property. All that locks do is keep honest people honest.
When its not appropriate to judge another favorably.
Judging fairly does not mean judging naively. If someone does many bad, even wicked things, we are not obligated to come up with some story as to why that behavior happened.
Rabbi Simcha Zissel Ziv stated, “One who gets into the habit of ignoring the acts of wicked people [or trying to explain them away] will begin to condone their practices…We must oppose them and take a stand against them.” (Ibid., p92)
When we have misjudged others.
When we have misjudged others, we should go out of our way to do good towards that person. He or she may not know why we are acting as we are, but hopefully our kindnesses will wipe out any negative feelings we felt, and might help us to judge others favorably in the future.
Topics: Judging Fairly