Updated: Mar 28, 2020
The biblical principle of justice has been a means to distinguish people who honor God from those who do not recognize the lordship of Jehovah. The context of this passage is primarily commerce and marketplace ethics, so those of us who use psychological tools could inadvertently miss the relevancy of this principle. But this admonition has something important to say about assessment integrity.
Do not have two differing weights in your bag—one heavy, one light. Do not have two differing measures in your house—one large, one small. You must have accurate and honest weights and measures, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. For the Lord your God detests anyone who does these things, anyone who deals dishonestly (Deut 25:13-16).
Stated in the vernacular of our day, there is to be no cheating in any form among God’s people.
Fairness is essential. A fair trade requires items be sold by weight or apportioned into set amounts. In regulated transactions, the Lord will not tolerate the deliberate, deceptive shortchanging of consumers. This is not a pragmatic recommendation given purely to fortify a respectable business reputation. This is a declaration of how God’s people are to reflect holiness in the public square. Honesty in measurement is a reflection of God’s justice.
Can this biblical principle apply to the assessment of human characteristics? Undoubtedly. In the New Testament, we see Jesus’ anger at corruption in the temple courts. He condemned money-changing fees for pilgrims who came to offer sacrifice. Jesus cried out against exorbitant pricing within the walls of his Father’s house. He prohibited preying upon those with burdened hearts who were on a mission to worship. These practices were not out of character for the dominant culture. But in the Lord’s house, they were not acceptable.
The essential biblical message is this: the truthfulness and fairness we may or may not display in our interactions and transactions are reflections of our heart. A righteous and holy God, the one who will eventually weigh all things, attends to such matters with an eye toward justice. After all, he has numbered the very hairs on our heads and sees even the smallest of sparrows. Does it not follow that he knows the condition of our hearts (Mt 10:30; Lk 12:7)?
When it comes to counseling, assessment tools help us remain objective. An external point of reference brings integrity to the interpersonal exchange and accountability to an otherwise subjective exchange. In the same way that honest use of the scales reflected a merchant’s integrity and earned customers’ respect, using assessment tools effectively can increase trust and mutuality in our relationships with clients. Those committed to honoring God are held to a higher level of accountability. Beyond the standards of professional practice, Christ- followers operate in obedience to the Lord. Referencing stable, scientifically valid measure is a matter of walking rightly and justly before the Lord (Mic 6:8).
Christian mental health professionals strive to use honest scales in a manner that brings glory to God.
Except from Assessment for Counseling in Christian Perspective (Greggo, 2019, IVP).