Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 18:5
"To show partiality to the wicked is not good, nor to thrust aside the righteous in judgment."
This seems so obvious as a statement. But there are numerous pressures that would make you want to violate this axiom in the midst of life.
This is the Hebrew word nasa and it opens the sentence in Hebrew for emphasis. It means to forgive or carry or bear the burden of. It has the idea that a favor is being done for this person. Thus the translation partiality. The idea is that one should not do special favors for wicked people.
Solomon is saying that you and I will be tempted to do special favors for those who live beyond the boundaries of the Ten Commandments. It may be that we think that this will cause them to like us, respect us, or turn and begin living inside God's boundaries. None of these things will work. These are people who have chosen to pursue selfishness past God's and society’s limits. They are all about themselves. They will accept your favor as further evidence that people recognize that they should be favored over other people.
When you are in a place of decision, make a fair, clear, and righteous decision when it comes to those who live outside of God's boundaries. Only the realities of God's Universe will convince them that the world does not revolve around them. The ultimate day of reckoning is coming, but you can shine little shards of light into their life through unbiased, impartial, and righteous decisions.
This is the Hebrew word rasa which means wickedness. In the book of Proverbs – and really in the Old Testament – this is the person who has decided to live without remorse outside of God's moral boundaries as spelled out in the Ten Commandments. Remember there are three types of transgression of God's law. There are the sins of omission – something that you should have done but you did not. There are sins of commission or trespass – something that you should not have done but you did. Then there is wickedness or iniquity – this is where you do not attempt to hide or come back within the boundaries of righteousness; you just continue violating God's standard as a matter of course. Examples would be you continue stealing, you continue committing adultery, you continue killing, etc.
This is from the Hebrew root nata which means to stretch out or turn aside. It means that a righteous person has come to the right person for a decision; but that authority person has decided to delay, defer, or deny the righteous person's claim for some reason. Don't do this. If a person has a righteous claim, then grant it no matter what the political climate is at the time. There are all kinds of reasons why a decision may be unpopular and one would want to delay or deny a righteous decision. It often seems like if one could just put this decision off, it would help a situation. Solomon is saying to be careful of this temptation. Face the tough decisions when they need to be faced within the normal accepted parameters. There will just be tough decisions that will make you unpopular. But making the right tough decisions now will put you in the place to make other tough decisions later.
There will always be difficult decisions to make. But often they are clear when the emotion and or political dimension is stripped out of them. Do not push aside a righteous person's just decision because of a political, emotional, or social issue that does not change this righteous person's claim.