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Sirach warns: Don't let your integrity be damaged

Columbia Biblical Studies: Thursday, February 13
Columbia Biblical Studies: Thursday, February 13
George Hodan

Today’s bible study is from Sirach 7:6: Don't set your heart on being a judge, unless you have the strength of character it takes to put an end to injustice. If you let yourself be influenced by someone in a position of power, your integrity will be damaged. .

This wisdom imparted so long ago by Sirach is just as applicable and important today. Let’s look at each phrase and see how we can apply it to our own lives. First, ‘Do not seek to become a judge…’ We are told in several different passages of the bible not to judge others. To do so tends to give us power and wisdom that we truly do not have. We are cautioned: Judge not, that you be not judged. And why can’t we judge? Why can’t we tell right from wrong, good from evil and justice from injustice? Well, if we try to, we are imposing our own wills and our own fallible judgment rather that God’s.

Leaving aside for a moment the judicial system, we shall focus on God. God can and will judge us, but His judgment is fair, just and loving. God is the only personification of perfection and the only source of true equity.

Next we are told that we should not judge because we may be unable to root out injustice. Rooting out injustice is a very difficult thing to do. Each of us can do it, at least to some extent, in our own little worlds. But in the larger world, it is dauntingly impossible. Prayer to our heavenly Father will lead us to seek injustices and the love and grace of the Holy Spirit working in us and through us will help us to root it out.

Finally, we are cautioned about losing our integrity by becoming partial to the powerful. This is something that is difficult for us all throughout our lives. When we are little children, we learn to follow the leader. We learn to choose the ‘right’ friends, to be with the ‘in’ crowd. As we mature, we seek to improve or professional or economic status by following the powerful. Too often we bow to the power of the almighty dollar rather than the power of the Almighty and Everlasting God.

Integrity is a precious gift and one that most of us hold dear. With all our human frailties, we cherish our integrity above all else and find it difficult to compromise it. When we do so, a little voice in our hearts reminds us that we may not be making the right choice. That little voice that whispers in our heart and tugs at our conscience is God. It is the voice of the Holy Spirit reminding us of the value of our integrity and the dangers we face when we compromise it.

May we always be mindful of injustice and seek, whenever we can, to root it out. With the grace and power of our Lord and Savior, may we never fall prey to the powerful and forsake our integrity. May we always and in every way be just, faithful and loving servants of Jesus our Christ.

References: The People’s New Testament Commentary by M. Eugene Boring and Fred B. Craddock and The MacArthur Bible Commentary by John MacArthur.

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