Proverbs 18:5

It is not good to accept the person of the wicked, to overthrow the righteous in judgment.

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Personalities, relationships, or gifts must be ignored when judging (Pr 17:15; 24:23; 28:21). Solomon gave his son a valuable rule for reigning justly – he had to ignore who was in a controversy in order to judge rightly. It is a shame that many allow personalities or relationships to affect their decisions, their standards, or their judgments. True justice and wisdom ignore everything but the issue at hand in the light of God’s infallible words.

The lesson here is crucial for those in authority (II Sam 23:3). Justice must be dispensed equitably and fairly in order to maintain the integrity of the ruler and his office. Whether a man makes judgments in his home, an employer in his business, a leader in government, or a pastor in a church matter, the only criterion for the decision must be, “Thus saith the Lord.” No other influences or factors can be allowed to enter the process.

Moses also taught the lesson to Israel (Ex 23:2; Lev 19:15; Deut 1:16-17; 16:19). And so did Jehoshaphat (II Chron 19:7). Neither rich nor poor were to be protected. Great men were not to be favored. Intimidating men were not to be feared. Bribes were to be rejected. Public opinion was to be ignored. God’s laws were to be applied righteously, without extraneous factors affecting the decision. Israel often failed in the duty (Mic 7:3).

History and reality prove that many will compromise for little. Pilate crucified the Lord of glory against his and his wife’s better judgment, because he wanted peace with the Jews and Caesar. Modern politicians promise whatever will please the present crowd and obtain the needed votes. A minority of constituents have intimidated a number of them to legitimize marriages of sodomites. They are slaves to the whims of popular opinion.

Popular opinion is irrelevant, and following a majority is wrong (Ex 23:2; 32:21-24; I Sam 15:24). Yet modern politicians live by polls, even of students – the most foolish strata of a society, in order to please the crowd. Democracy is insane. God gifted leaders and ordained their offices to save society from the majority. Leaders must choose righteousness, truth, and wisdom for them. When has the majority – the lowest common denominator of humanity – ever chosen justice over their bellies, fears, or superstitions?

God does not respect persons, and neither should you (Job 34:19; Ps 82:1-5). Respect of persons is compromise due to affection, preference, relationship, or benefit from a party. Only Scripture should determine what is right in your actions and decisions (Ps 119:128). Paul charged Timothy to discharge his ministry without personal preferences or partiality (I Tim 5:21). Even church members cannot be preferential to visitors (Jas 2:1-13).

A great goal for a Christian is to have a reputation of absolute fairness. That means he always chooses righteousness, ignoring personalities or relationships. This fairness must be practiced at home with children, at work with colleagues or subordinates, in church business and hospitality, and in all your dealings with others. Though you may have enemies, they should know that you have and will treat them fairly. Can your children come to you confidently, even when they have erred, knowing you will be perfectly fair?

If a man lets personalities or relationships affect his judgment, he has no character or integrity. He would corrupt justice for a piece of bread (Pr 28:21). No matter the excuse, he is an abomination to God, an offence to justice, a threat to society, a blot on authority, a hinderer of holiness, a promoter of sin, and a friend of the devil. He has no right to any position of influence, power, or respect. Good men should despise him (Ps 15:4).

How is your heart in this matter of respecting persons? Do you passionately hate the very thought of corrupting justice and judgment for personal feelings or benefit? Are you fully committed to think right, speak right, and do right, no matter who the parties are in a controversy? How is your reputation for fairness and impartiality? Is it perfect and noteworthy before God and men (I Sam 18:28-30)? Anything less stinks (Eccl 10:1)!

Reader, you will soon face Jesus Christ. You may have influenced and manipulated other weaklings like yourself during your life. But God has ordained Him to judge the world in absolute justice in a day that is rapidly approaching (Acts 17:29-31). His judgment will be in pure equity and righteousness; His sentence will be absolute and final. You will not be able to sway Him in the least with tears, excuses, threats, comparisons, or pleadings. Humble yourself before Him now and beg for mercy before it is too late.