Proverbs 17:15
Acquitting the guilty and condemning the righteous--both are detestable to the LORD.
Just EstimatesProverbs 17:15
Our Estimate of Other MenH. Alford, B. D.Proverbs 17:15
Fatherhood and SonshipW. Clarkson Proverbs 17:6, 21, 25
Dark Phases of Human CharacterE. Johnson Proverbs 17:10-15

Experience shows us that -

I. STRIFE IS A GROWTH. It is as when one letteth out water; first it is the trickling of a few drops, then a tiny rill, then a stream, etc. So with strife; first it is a disturbing thought; then it becomes a warm or a hot feeling; then it utters itself in a strong, provoking word which leads to an energetic resentment and response; then it swells into a decided, antagonistic action; then it grows into a course of opposition, and becomes a feud, a contention, a war.


1. It is the source of untold and incalculable misery to many hearts.

2. It betrays several souls into feelings and into actions which are distinctly wrong and sinful.

3. It presents a moral spectacle which is grievous in the sight of Christ, the Lord of love.

4. It rends in twain that which should be united in one strong and happy circle - the home, the family connection, the Church, the society, the nation.

5. It arrests the progress which would otherwise be made in wisdom and in worth; for it causes numbers of men to expend on bitter controversy and contention the energy and ingenuity they would otherwise expend on rendering service and doing good.

III. OUR DUTY, OUR WISDOM, IS TO ARREST IT AT ITS BEGINNING. You cannot extinguish the conflagration, but you can stamp out the spark; you cannot stop the flow of the river, but you can dam the rill with the palm of your hand. You cannot heal a great schism, but you can appease a personal dispute; or, what is better, you can recall the offensive word you have yourself spoken; or, what is better still, you can repress the rising thought, you can call in to your aid other thoughts which calm and soothe the soul; you can remember him who "bore such contradiction of sinners against himself," who "as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth," and you can maintain a magnanimous silence. When this is no longer possible, because the first inciting word has been uttered and resented, then let there be an earnest and determined effort to quell all heat in your own heart, and to pacify the one whose anger has been aroused. "Blessed are the peacemakers," etc. (see also Matthew 5:25; Romans 12:18). - C.

He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the Lord.
We may regard such an estimate from three points of view: in its effect on those thus estimated, on society in general, and on ourselves. Did we ever question with ourselves, "On what is my estimate of others usually founded"? If we did we should surely be dissatisfied with our present practice. It would be unnatural and absurd to pretend that no influence should be exerted over our estimate of men by the organs of public opinion; equally unreasonable to decry them as perfectly unreliable in the matter. But there may be very much untruthfulness, short of what is utter and absolute; very much which is utter and absolute, and yet escapes detection. What is the duty of Christians with regard to the blame and praise of others? Insist first on the general duty of conscientiousness in forming all our estimates of other men. It should be our aim as Christians, not obsequiously to follow public opinion, but to act for ourselves and for God. There is a timidity, even amounting to cowardice, among us in forming and expressing our opinion of other men. The body of Christian men among us seems to have abjured the duty of conscientiousness; and this abjuration is one of the most fearful symptoms of our times. The duty of estimating others as in the sight of God is not by any means a light one, but a most solemn one. Unholy and unprincipled life, wherever found, ought to be protested against by the servants of God. There is a sad tendency among us to overlook those faults which fall in with the practice of the day, which consist in the neglect of unwelcome duties, or the committal of lightly-esteemed sins. The second person who is said to be an abomination to the Lord is "he that condemneth the just." We are always more prone to condemn than to justify. It is an abuse of our instinct of self-preservation to be ever ready with our hostility to other men. The general propensity to depress others renders it very easy, in any case, to condemn. Point out a few ways by which we may guard ourselves against this tendency to condemn the just. The first caution is this — look ever at the life which is palpable rather than at the motive or the creed, which are usually mere matters of surmise. A second caution is, avoid and refuse to use, and protest against the use of, all party names. Another caution is this — form your opinions of others, not at the prompting of the world, but as under the eye of God. For all our most secret judgments of men and things we are accountable to Him.

(H. Alford, B. D.)

It was a saying of Solon, the Athenian lawgiver, that a republic walks upon two feet; one being just punishment for the unworthy, the other due reward for the worthy. If it fail in either of these, it necessarily goes lame. How if it fail in both?

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