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Fair Calls and Due Process

Photo by: Scott

I remember hearing my dad describe how surprised he often was to hear the second side of a conflict. He said that when a co-worker came to him with a complaint about another, his first impression was to think the person really had a case. But if he took the time to hear the other side, he often ended up with a  different impression.

Over the years I’ve recalled dad’s words whenever I happened to read the 17th verse of the 18th chapter of Proverbs.  The last time I read this proverb, I went to Biblegateway.com to see how it sounds in several different translations. Here’s some of what I found:

1.  He that is first in his on cause seemeth just; but his neighbour cometh and searcheth him. (King James Version)

2.  The first one to plead his cause seems right, until his neighbor comes and examines him. (New King James Version)

3.  He who states his case first seems right, until his rival comes and cross-examines him. (Amplified Bible)

4.  The first person to speak always seems right until someone comes and asks the right questions. (Easy to Read Version)

5.  The first speech in a court case is always convincing—until the cross-examination starts!  (The Message)

With a little more cross-referencing I found that the proverb seems to have an ancient connection to Jewish due process  (Deut 1:16) as Moses recalled for the nation of Israel how he had urged their “elder-judges” to deal fairly in matters of dispute.

Interestingly, the next proverb talks about the wisdom of settling a dispute by the “casting of lots” (Proverb 18:18); while the next one then indicates that “a brother wronged is more unyielding than a fortified city (Proverbs 18:19).

Am thinking that “drawing straws” or “rolling dice” might be called for as a matter of last resort, if there is no other fair way to resolve and when agreed upon– while remembering the truth of 19 (Prov 18:19).

At this point, my thoughts went to the matter of application that we’ve talked about so much about in the past. How do these Proverbs relate to our point that the purpose of the Bible is to help us align ourselves with the Spirit of Christ—and through him to  reflect the heart and presence of our God (in showing consideration for a brother/sister/neighbor/outsider)?

Am hoping  this might be enough to get our conversation going today.

PS Cold weather and snow expected here today to confirm that winter has arrived. Your weather reports and general location  (i.e. region of world, state, or country) are always welcome :-)


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90 Responses to “Fair Calls and Due Process”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    Mart this subject really has me smiling this morning; because it reflects the necessity of people to be honest and not self serving.

    Smiling because you have described my life as one who always seen everything as right or wrong, good or bad, never wanting to get into the confusion of grey areas.

    Because I was the President of our United Mine Workers Local Union and because I have been the Municipal Court Judge for nearly 40 years, I have a great many experiences in dealing with disputes.

    The problems arise when people lie, or want something not deserved, earned or have a legal or moral right to.

    They will twist the truth, lie and use every tool of mental manipulation in order to get their way and achieve their goals.

    An arbitrator or a judge has the onus of seeing through the din and smoke in order to ferret out the truth.

    As stated earlier, the truth is not often the case, nor are the restraints put upon the legal system always interested in the truth.

    Too often also are people wronged by the very people or system in place in order to see *justice* prevail.

    Too often the best we can do as followers of Christ is know we are right with Him and suffer at the hands of those who are not, and look to God to set matters straight according to His will, His time and through His methods.

    All the while never being guilty of lying or bearing false witness or wanting something from another so badly as to use a flawed or corrupt system in order to obtain it.

    09 degrees this morning after a day of light snow yesterday and promise of more today.


  • SFDBWV says:

    Also Mart I get quite the mental picture of a judge deciding to flip a coin to see who wins a case in courts of any level today. That may make “Utube”and go *viral*….