A deceitful balance is an abomination before the Lord: and a just weight is his will. Great Lent, the Third Week, Friday, Vespers – Proverbs 11:1, from the selection: Proverbs 10:31-11:12
The Proverbs are excellent texts for checking ourselves. We must read the scriptures with the intent of finding personal correction and guidance.
When we observe good or bad behavior, do we resemble it? When there is a rebuke, would we deserve the same? When a prayer is uttered or a promise made, would we be truth tellers or liars if we said the same thing?
Here we are told something about honesty. In old times, product was weighed on a balance, and sold by weight. An unscrupulous merchant could add weight to the side on which he weighed the product, so that a small amount would seem heavier, or he could label the weights that he added to the other side incorrectly, by overstating their weight. In either case, the result was (for instance) that a customer would think he was buying a pound, but in reality the weight would only be twelve ounces.
The way we judge things, and present ourselves to others may be considered a “balance”.
Our balance is deceitful, if we prefer one person over another because of their wealth, or position or notoriety, as the Holy Brother of the Lord tells us:
My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. (2) For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; (3) And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: (4) Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? (James 2:1-4 KJV)
We have a deceitful balance if we speak ill of another behind their back.
Our balance is false if we are more likely to talk or listen to someone if they are pretty, or interesting.
Is not our balance deceitful, when we promise to do something, and do not do it?
Anytime that we hide dark thoughts in our hearts regarding our brethren, regardless of whether we think that we act upon them, we carry within us a deceitful balance.
Priest Seraphim Holland 2009. St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas
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