This is what the Lord Almighty says: `Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of each other’ (Zechariah 7:9,10 NIV).
Thoughts are powerful. For actions are powered by thought. Good thoughts therefore lead to good actions and bad thoughts to bad actions. We can be certain of these guiding principles because there can be no action without thought. So generally, we can judge a man’s thoughts by his actions.
Even though this is true we cannot absolutely trust these principles. For there are many who do good actions with wrong thoughts. Sometimes it is difficult for us to find out whether a man is doing good to cover up some of his bad thoughts. And it is more difficult to know the thoughts within the heart of a man who does not do anything in particular.
He may not oppress the widow or the fatherless. He may not mistreat the alien or the poor. But avoiding these kind of wrong things does not necessarily mean that his thoughts are good. God places a great importance on what we think. Therefore He says to us not to think evil of each other. God is asking us not only to abstain from evil deeds but also to abstain from evil thoughts.
This is an area where we fail much. We think evil of those who help us. We think evil of those whose actions we don’t understand. But God wants us to operate on the principles of mercy and compassion. He wants us to show true justice. It includes, not thinking evil of others.