Monday, May 06, 2013

A Thought for Monday 5/6/13

“You shall do no injustice in judgment.  You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty.  In righteousness you shall judge your neighbor.”  Leviticus 19:15

Without a working knowledge of the ancient languages, it is a challenge to ascertain the difference between this mandate to “judge your neighbor” and Jesus’ admonishment to “judge not, lest you be judged”.  Because of this confusion, we do our best to refrain from judging at all “lest we be judged”.  This is not biblical love, however, to turn a blind eye to our neighbor’s intent on doing harm to himself AND ultimately to those around him; it is better described as “neglect” when we choose to say nothing at all.  If we can clearly see the spiritual, emotional, mental, or physical harm being done in the present and in the long-term, how can we remain silent?  It is as the saying goes, “In order for evil to triumph, it is necessary that good people remain silent.” 

Clearly we must discern between good and evil each and every day just as we teach our children right from wrong, and we do this because we love our children and want them to have good lives.  Is there any less to love when it involves our “neighbor”?  “He who hates his brother [or neighbor] is in darkness and walks in darkness and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes” (1 John 3:11).  “Hate” in this context does not denote active attempts to do harm; rather “neglect” is inferred when we see someone doing harm and committing sin and not caring enough to do something.

There is a strict admonition in the levitical law that judgment must be done “in righteousness”; that is, according to what is just and right.  No special treatment for “the poor” and certainly no special honor to “the mighty” (the powerful, the rich).  “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4).  So we know right from wrong according to what is written in the Scriptures; St. John and other New Testament writers attest to this reality.  So if we find ourselves confused as to what is right or what is wrong, it is because we are trying to make a judgment according to our culture and our own desires and not according to our Lord.

All this is what it means to live in community with one another; to look after one another, to hold one another accountable, and to support one another when the world threatens to overwhelm us.  We have been given a great gift in everlasting life.  Let us support one another now as if we truly believe it.


No comments: