Proverbs 18:17

The one who states his case first seems right,
until the other comes and examines him.

What a true observation! How many times have we heard one speaker lay forth an argument that seems the epitome of commonsense, only to hear someone else give a different opinion or exam the first speaker, and we completely change our opinion? Perhaps the first speaker omitted pertinent information; perhaps he operated from presuppositions that needed questioning. Whatever the case, it took another examiner – either one impartial or with a differing opinion – to present a fuller picture.

Thus, we need ourselves not to be quick to form opinions nor to assume that the speaker on our side is always right. This happens in politics and theology where we presume that our guy is the one with the right facts and opinion. Take time to listen to the examiner, regardless of his position. The truth can reside even in the one with the wrong motivation or perspective. We are not to judge by what “seems” right, but by the evidence itself. Oftentimes we need someone with another perspective to help us consider what the evidence may be.

A more common scenario is our taking sides in a dispute before listening to each party. Take, for example, a marital conflict. One spouse shares with you how he or she has been wronged. You are sympathetic and now become angry with the other spouse. You either hold a grudge or even confront the other spouse with his or her wrongdoing. What then happens? The conflict escalates. Before you bothered to hear the other side, you made accusations, which only increases the trouble between between the couple. Do not be quick to judge. The proverb is right: The one who states his case first seems right. But seeming right and being right are not the same thing. It is fine to be sympathetic, but not to rush to conclusions.

Finally, give thanks that we have a Lord who judges not by what his eyes see or ears hear, but only with righteousness and equity (Isaiah 11:4). And give thanks that we have God’s Word that gives, not an opinion, but truth by which we may judge the opinions of others, including ourselves.

© 2024 Tenth Presbyterian Church.

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in its entirety or in unaltered excerpts, as long as you do not charge a fee. For Internet posting, please use only unaltered excerpts (not the content in its entirety) and provide a hyperlink to this page, or embed the entire material hosted on Tenth channels. You may not re-upload the material in its entirety. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Tenth Presbyterian Church.

Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By D. Marion Clark. © 2024 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: