Was the driver late with your food? You can use your phone to give him a one-star rating. Did the shopkeeper treat you curtly? You can write her a critical review. While smartphones enable us to shop, keep up with friends, and more, they have also given us the power to publicly rate each other. And this can be a problem.
Rating each other this way is problematic because judgments can be made without context. The driver gets rated poorly for a late delivery due to circumstances out of his control. The shopkeeper gets a negative review when she’d been up all night with a sick child. How can we avoid rating others unfairly like this?
By imitating God’s character. In Exodus 34:6–7, God describes Himself as “compassionate and gracious”—meaning He wouldn’t judge our failures without context; “slow to anger”—meaning He wouldn’t post a negative review after one bad experience; “abounding in love”—meaning His correctives are for our good, not to get revenge; and “forgiving [of] sin”—meaning our lives don’t have to be defined by our one-star days. Since God’s character is to be the basis of ours (Matthew 6:33), we can avoid the harshness smartphones enable by using ours as He would.
In the online age, we can all rate others harshly. May the Holy Spirit empower us to bring a little compassion today.