Tag: Proverbs

How to Handle an Offender (Proverbs 24:29)

1.0 The Statement

Everyone is plagued in some way by people who dislike or even hate us for one reason or another; sometimes we “make” Offenders; we alienate or offend people and they become our “Adversaries.” Their dislike may or may not be justified. Sometime people simply dislike us for no apparent reason. They may be threatened by us, differ with what we believe or have what it commonly referred to as a “personality clash.” Unwilling to live and let live, they are antagonistic toward us; they choose to live “at war” with us, sometimes overly attacking, other times waging cold war of criticism or manipulation.

There are different kinds of Offenders who assail us in various ways; but no matter how they come packaged, they are hard to cope with. And because we do not know how to handle them or our feelings about them (they make us angry, and we hit back). We let them inflict needless pain and stress on us. As they affect our live, we want to retaliate, thereby intensifying the problem.

The Book of Proverbs contains sound advise on how to handle “Offenders,” which indicates God knows we would have them. They are a part of life, an outgrowth of our basic sin nature. We cannot avoid them, but we can eliminate the influence they exert over us.

1.1 Never Seek Revenge

First, never seek revenge; we must be honest enough to admit we want to “get” at our Offenders; that we want revenge. We want to defend ourselves against further attack, hurt them back, get even and retaliate. God knows this will be our reaction:

1.1.1 God Warns

Proverbs 24:29 (KJV) “Say not, I will do so to him as he hath done to me; I will render to the man according to his work.” God warns us against seeking revenge because “vengeance belongs to the LORD, and He will repay it” (Romans 12:19b). If we take action into our own hands, we have step into the place of God and seek vengeance upon our Offender. What will become of us if God should render to us according to our evil works?

We need mercy at God’s hand, and shall we render nothing but rigid justice to our fellow men in direct opposition to God’s Royal Law of Love? When we revenge injuries at our own discretion, we may do hurt to our Offenders, but we do much greater hurt to ourselves; for the punishment of malice and revenge to which we expose ourselves is far worse than any vengeance which our feeble arm can inflict.

Let us therefore show ourselves to be the Disciples of Christ by loving our Offenders and recompensing evil with good. Thus, we shall “heap coals of fire upon the head of our enemies (Offenders)” (Romans 12:20-21) but following an opposite course, we heap them on our own to our destruction.

“Heap burning coals on the head” means to give a burning sense of shame. In Egyptian ritual a man purged his offence by carrying on his head a dish containing burning coal on a bed of ashes. The verse quoted is Proverbs 25:21 (LXX) but omitting the closing words and the LORD shall rewards thee. Treat our Offender kindly; this may soften his hard heart and take away his evil disposition. The best way to get rid of an Offender is to turn him into a friend (Bruce). Therefore, let good triumph over evil. 

1.1.2 God Commands

Proverbs 20:22a “Say not thou, I will recompense (repay) evil.” God commands that we must not pay evil for evil. If private revenge is allowed, it would soon fill the Land with confusion and blood. By indulging in revenge, we would be driven on to make very disproportionable returns for the wrongs done to us.

We might wreak our vengeance on the blameless as David would have done if Abigail had not disarmed his fury. We might bring upon ourselves the guilt that make ourselves miserable, in regret all the remainder of our days.

Most wisely, therefore, and graciously we are forbidden to avenge ourselves, or so much as to say that we will do it. It is a bad thing to have any thought of revenge, but if we say, or swear, that we will take satisfaction at our own hand from him who has offended us, we are entangled in a dangerous snare of the Devil who will endeavour to persuade us that our honour is doubly engaged by the provocation received, and by our word to take revenge. God, who is Perfect Justice, can handle the wrongs we suffer but we are not. Reprisal will only make things worse, so we are told not to wage any counterattacks against our Offenders.

1.1.3 Wait on the Lord

Proverbs 20:22b “But wait for the LORD.” If we suffer the wrongs done to our credit and estate to pass not taking revenge, says one person, I expose myself to every shaft of malice, and may expect still greater injuries than those I have already received. There is no fear for that because the LORD commanded us to wait for Him. We do not like to wait but demand immediate justice, instant vindication. But God commands us to wait on Him because:

  • God Promises DeliveranceProverbs 20:22cAnd He shall save (deliver) thee” – The LORD promises to deliver. We are not able deliver ourselves or save ourselves from those who have offended us.  However, if we wait on the LORD, He promises to deliver us from those who have offended us. We must forget about who have offended us and concentrate on our relationship with the LORD. When we obey, when we do what He asks us, we have victory, and the LORD is free to deal with those who have offended us without any interference from us. 
  • God Promises PeaceProverbs 16:7 “When a man’s ways please the LORD, He maketh even his enemies (Offenders) to be at peace with him.” God promises “peace” from those who have offended us –We cannot make our Offenders to be at peace with us, but God can when we relinquish control of our Offenders to Him. 

1.1.4 Control Our Emotions

Proverbs 10:12 “Hatred stirreth up strifes, but love covereth all sins.” Hatred does not harm our Offenders; it debilitates us. We must also control our emotions toward those who dislike us and whom we dislike. It is normal to hate someone who is making our life miserable; who does us an injustice, lies about us, hurts our feelings, or misjudged us; who undermines us to others or manipulates to put us in a bad light – Offenders do all those things and more. But no matter what our Offenders do to us we must not hate them. If we hate our Offenders, we are letting them make us to sin because Proverbs 14:21“He who despises his neighbour sins”

1.1.5 Control Our Actions

Proverbs 25:8 “Go not forth hastily to strive, lest that know not what to do in the end thereof, when thy neighbour hath put thee to shame.” In dealing with our Offenders, we must squelch our inclination to overact; we need to control our actions as well as our feeling. If we wage a verbal battle against an Offender, when the time comes for us to present a legitimate argument, no one will listen, and we will be embarrassed.

1.1.6 Minister to Our Enemies

Proverbs 25:21,22 “If your enemy (Offender) is hungry, give him food to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you.” Instead of retaliating, hating, or railing against our Offenders, we are to minister to them; to do whatever we can to assist them because God will reward us: Difficult it may be to put into practice, we should serve our Offenders. We hurt ourselves if we fight with them; we will be blessed if we minister to them.  Our Lord Jesus Christ presented this same truth when He taught: Matthew 5:39, 44 “Do not resist him who is evil; but whoever slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also….Love your enemies (Offenders), and pray for those who persecute you.” The message is clear, we are never relieved of our moral responsibilities because of the way the Offender treats us. There are no limits on God’s Love and there must be no restrictions on ours. That is why God’s Word admonishes us to maintain a loving, compassionate attitude toward our Offenders, even when God deals with them on our behalf.

1.1.7 Do Not Rejoice

Proverbs 24:17-18 “Rejoice not when thine enemy (Offender) falleth and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth. Lest the LORD see it, and it displease Him, and He turn away his wrath from him (our Offender).” The LORD commanded us not to rejoice when our Offender Falls; and do not let our heart be glad when our Offender Stumbles. This is a hard instruction. It is difficult not to cheer and clap our hands and dance around the place when our Offender Falls. Hard not to laugh and be glad inside because he finally got what was coming to him.

  • Reason – Proverbs 24:18Lest the LORD see it, and it displease Him, and He turn away his wrath from him (our Offender).” But gloating when an Offender Falls or Stumbles displeases the LORD, and He may back off when He is intervening for our behalf and benefits. If we rejoice not, the LORD will continue to deal our Offenders, otherwise He will spare them. Difficult as it may seem, all rules of Christian conduct apply in our dealings with our Offenders, and when we follow the LORD’s Word, we will have victory over our Offenders.
  • Warning – Proverbs 17:5b “He that is glad at calamities shall not be unpunished.” If we rejoice over the sudden misfortune of our Offenders, we are mocking the God who has providentially visited upon them their affliction.

Diseased Personality (Proverbs 17:4)

1.0 The Definition

The Person who gives heed to “the evil-report” catches “the disease,” of “the evil-report” and develops the destructive diseased personality of the Carrier; it will mentally and emotionally destroy that Person – Proverbs 17:4 “An evildoer gives heed to false lips; a liar listens eagerly to a spiteful tongue.”

1.1 The Disease

If the “disease” of embracing “the evil-report” is not dealt with, it will grieve our Lord Jesus Christ and causes abominations (hatreds) to arise in the “the diseased” Person’s heart – Proverbs 26:24-25 “He who hates, disguises it with his lips, and lays up deceit within himself; when he speaks kindly, do not believe him, for there are seven abominations in his heart.”  The “Diseased-Personality:”

1.1.1 Bitterness and Rebellion

The Person who “is diseased,” develops bitterness and/or rebellion, even though the Person who catches “the disease” does not directly offend an Individual:

  • BitternessHebrews 12:16 “Looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this (bitterness) many become defiled.” 
    • Falls short of God’s Grace.
    • Root of bitterness becomes part of Person’s Character.
    • Brings Troubles.
    • Defiles Others.
  • Rebellion 1Samuel 15:23a “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity (lawlessness) and idolatry.”

1.1.2 Recruiting Others

The Person who “is diseased” sets up himself/herself as “the Judge” in matters which are God’s responsibility – – James 3:11-12 “Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the Law and judges the Law. But if you judge the Law, you are not a doer of the Law but a judge. There is one Lawgiver (God), who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?”  And recruiting others to be “on-his/her-side:”

  • Absalom’s spirit (2Samuel 15:1-6) – Absalom rebelled against King David, his father and steals the hearts of nearly the whole Nation of Israel – 2Samuel 15:6 “In this manner Absalom acted toward all Israel who came to the King (David) for judgement. So, Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.”
  • Korah’s spiritJude 11b – “The rebellion of Korah” – Numbers 16 – The sin of Korah is the recruiting of Israelites to be on his side, in his rebellion against Moses’ authority as God’s chosen leader and the intrusion into the Aaronic Priest Office.

1.1.3 Dig Up Evil

The Person who “is diseased” searches out “the evil-report” and using it to give the worse possible impression: Proverbs 16:27 “An ungodly man digs up evil and, in his lips, there is as a burning fire.”

1.1.4 Lack of Sincerity

The Person who “is diseased” with “the evil-report,” and spreading it, believes that his/her attitude and action is in God’s Will; but he/she failed to realize that it is an occasion of self-deception:

  • Proverbs 26:18-19 “Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrow and death, is the man who deceives his neighbor, and says, ‘I was only joking.’”

Symptom of Infection by the Evil Report (Proverbs 26:21)

1.0 The Infection

An Individual is said to be “infected” with “the evil-report” when he responds to “an evil-report” with human reasonings and emotions rather than with Scripture and God’s Love – Proverbs 14:15 “The simple (fool) believes every word; but the prudent (wise) man looks well to his going.”  

1.1 The Symptom

If the defilement of hearing “an evil-report” is not dealt with, wrong attitudes, opinions, conclusions, and actions will follow – Proverbs 26:21 “As charcoal is to burning coals, and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindle strife.” Even toward loves ones and close friends – Proverbs 16:28 “….a Whisperer separates chief (good) friends.” The symptoms of an infection:

  1. The Person believes the Carrier’s “evil-report” to be true without checking out the source and the reason for “the evil-report” – Proverbs 17:4 “A wicked (unwise) doer gives heed to false lips.”
  2. The Person develops negative opinions based on the Carrier’s “evil-report”- Proverbs 18:13 (Amp) “He who answers a matter before he hears (finds out) the facts, it is a folly and shame to him.”   
  3. The Person focuses on negative aspects of the person in “the evil-report” – Proverbs 21:28a, 29a “A false witness shall perish…..a wicked (unwise) person puts on the bold, unfeeling face (of guilt).”
  4. The Person interprets the Carrier of “the evil-report,” words and actions as “supporting evidence” – Management term: “Self-fulfilling Prophecy” – Proverbs 12:20a “Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil.”  God’s Word exhorts: Ecclesiastes 12:13a “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter (truth).” Thus, we are not to find-fault with incomplete evidences, but to hear out the whole matter (truth).
  5. The Person judges motives (intents) of the person in “the evil-report,” on the basis of “an evil-report” given by the Carrier – Proverbs 21:10a “The soul of the wicked (fool) desires evil.” Only God’s Word (Logos) can discern the person’s intentions and motives – Hebrews 4:12 “For the word (logos) of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit; and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and   of the heart.”
  6. The Person avoidsBacks away (avoids) with the person, who is in “the evil-report,” without ascertain the accuracy of the evil-report – Proverbs 13:16a & 18:15 “Every prudent (wise) man acts with knowledge……The heart of the prudent (wise) acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.”
  7. The Person repeats “the evil-report” to others – Proverbs 17:9 (Amp) “He who covers and forgives an offense seeks love, but he who repeats and harps on a matter separates even close friends.”

Defilement by Evil Report (Proverbs 26:22)

1.0 Defilement

Defilement involves welcoming and receiving the Carrier of “the evil-report” and believe that “the evil-report” is true – Proverbs 26:22 “The words of a Talebearer (Whisperer) are as wounds. They go down into the innermost parts of the belly.” In the same way, that the person comes into contact with “an infectious-disease,” listening to “an evil-report” does defiled the person who receive it – Hebrews 12:16b “Lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.”

1.1 Absalom (2 Samuel 15)

A classic illustration of the influence and defilement of listening and accepting to “an evil-report” is in the work and person of Absalom – 2Samuel 15:1-13 – Absalom, the son of King David, used an innocent sounding evil report to steal the hearts of almost the whole Nation of Israel and lead it in revolt against his own father, King David. Absalom’s evil-report emphasized his “concern” for suffering people of Israel, his “deep-desire” that justice be done and his “ability” to be a better Administrator than his father, King David. Absalom acted out of bitterness because his father, King David does not bring judgement to Absalom’s half-brother for immorality (Amnon – 2Samuel 13:1-15), so he takes upon the matters into his own hands and was rejected for it (2Samuel 13:28-29). Absalom does Seven Things.

1.1.1 Gathered

Absalom, gathers and organizes a group that would be loyal to him rather than to King David, his father, whom he served – 2Samuel 15:1-2 “After this it happened that Absalom provided himself with chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him. Now Absalom would rise early and stand beside the way to the gate. So, it was whenever anyone who had a lawsuit came to the king (David) for a decision, that Absalom would call to him and say, ‘What city are you from?’ and he would say, ‘Your servant is from such and such a tribe of Israel.’”

1.1.2 Plan

Absalom hatched a plan, to win the heart of the people of Israel – 2Samuel 15:3 “Then Absalom would say to him, ‘Look your case is good and right; but there is no deputy of the king to hear you.”

1.1.3 Available

Absalom makes himself available to the people – 2Samuel 15:4 “Moreover Absalom would say, ‘Oh, that I were made Judge in the land, and everyone who has any suit or cause would come to me; then I would give him justice.

1.1.4 Discontentment

Absalom seeks out those who have grievance – 2Samuel 15:5 “And so it was, whenever anyone came near to bow down to him, that he would put out his hands and take him and kiss him.

1.1.5 Personal Interest

Absalom shows personal interest to the person who has a complaint – 2Samuel 15:5 “And so it was, whenever anyone came near to bow down to him, that he would put out his hands and take him and kiss him.”

1.1.6 On Behalf

Absalom takes up the offenses on behalf of those who have been hurt – 2Samuel 15:6a “In this manner Absalom acted toward all Israel who came to the King (David) for judgement.”

1.1.7 Hearts Stolen

Absalom, “steals” the hearts of almost the whole Nation of Israel – 2Samuel 15:6b,12b, 13b “So, Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel…..And the conspiracy grew strong, for the people with Absalom continually increased in number……The hearts of the men of Israel are with Absalom.  

Absalom alienated the people of Israel from King David’s influence and authority by giving “an evil-report” about the leadership of King David: 

  • Absalom offered to be their Representative to make sure things are done right away – 2Samuel 15:4 “Moreover Absalom would say, ‘Oh, that I were made Judge in the land, and everyone who has any suit or cause would come to me; then I would give him justice.”
  • Absalom would use his position, as the son of David, to increase his influence over the people of Israel – 2Samuel 15:4 “Moreover Absalom would say, ‘Oh, that I were made Judge in the land, and everyone who has any suit or cause would come to me; then I would give him justice.”
  • Absalom desired acceptance and recognition as well as authority – 2Samuel 15:6b,12b, 13b “So, Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel…..And the conspiracy grew strong, for the people with Absalom continually increased in number……The hearts of the men of Israel are with Absalom.

1.2 God’s Judgement

– Absalom became “a curse” in the Nation of Israel – Deuteronomy 21:23b “For he who is hanged is accursed of God.” – Absalom, in his defeat, tried to escape from David’s men and his head was caught in the branch of the tree – 2Samuel 18:9-10 “And Absalom met the servants of David. And Absalom rode upon a mule, and the mule went under the thick boughs of a great oak, and his (Absalom’s) head caught firmly in the oak, and he was suspended between the heaven and the earth; and the mule that was under him went away…..Behold, I saw Absalom hanging in an oak.” Thus, fulfilled Deuteronomy 21:23b, “For he who is hanged is accursed of God.”

1.3 God Hates

The Book of Proverbs states that six things God hates and the seventh is an abomination to Him: Proverbs 6:16-19 “These six things the LORD hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: ‘A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood. A heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren.” 

Exposure to Evil Reports (Proverb 27:12)

1.0 The Exposure

Exposure to “an evil-report” means entering into conversation and empathize with the person who is the Carrier of “an evil-report.”

  • God Desires – God desires that the Individual be the Prudent Person, who does not entertain “an evil-report” – Proverbs 27:12 “A prudent man foresees the evil and hides himself, but the simple (fool) pass on and are punished.”
  • God WarnsPsalm 101:5 “Whosoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will destroy; the one who has a haughty look and a proud heart, him I will not endure.”
  • God Expects – How does we respond to God’s Expectation – Romans 16:17 “Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine (teaching) which you learned, and avoid them.” 

1.1 Discernment – How do we discern and detect the Carrier of “an evil-report:”

  • He Tests our spirit – The Carrier of “an evil-report” will usually test our spirit before giving us “the evil-report.” – Any evidence of a compatible spirit in us will encourage the Carrier to give us “the evil-report.”  – 2Corinthians 12:20b “Backbiting, whispering, conceits…..”
  • He Tests our Acceptance – The Carrier of “an evil-report” will usually check our acceptance of his “feed-back,” before giving the full-report to us. He may do this by asking for our opinion about the Person or Church, or dropping a negative comment and observes our response to it – Absalom, David’s son used an innocent sounding evil report to steal the hearts of almost an entire Nation of Israel and leads it in revolt against his own father, King David (2Samuel 15:1-6) – “So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel” (2Samuel 15:6b).
  • He Creates Curiosity – The Carrier of “an evil-report” will often get us to ask for the details of “the evil-report” by creating curiosity for it. Some starters are: “Have you heard about (this person)?” “Wait till I tell you about (this person)!” – Psalm 41:7-8 “All who hate me whisper together against me; against me they devise my hurt. An evil disease, they say, ‘cling to him. And now that he lies down, he will rise up no more.’”
  • He Shares Concern? – The Carrier of “an evil-report” may get our attention by asking us for our counsel or by sharing a concern for the Person involved – this is a subtle deception, used by Satan on Adam’s wife, Eve (Genesis 3:1-6).
  • He Has Privileged Information? – The Carrier of “the evil-report” try to get us interested because he has “the inside-privileged information” –Shemaiah, who was working, as a Secret Informer, for the Opposers (Sanballat, Tobiah) who were against Nehemiah, tried to persuade Nehemiah that he has “secret-information” of the people who wanted to kill him (Nehemiah 6:10-14).    

1.2 Guidance

To avoid contamination by “an evil-report” we need God’s Written Word (Scripture) and the Guidance of the Holy Spirit, by sensing His (Spirit’s) promptings and be opened to the Counsel of God’s Leaders in His House. To detect “an evil-report;” these are five questions that we should ask before listening to the Carrier of “the evil-report:”

  • “What is his/her personal reason for telling us?” – Widening the circle of gossip can only increase the problem.
  • “Where did he/she get his/her information?” – Refusal to identify the source of the information is a sure signal of “an evil-report.”
  • “Have he/she gone to the Person directly to clarify?” – Spirituality is not measured by how well we expose an Offender, but by how effectively we restore an Offender – Matthew 18:15 “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him/her his fault between you and him ALONE. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.” (Galatians 6:1-4).
  • “Have he/she personally checked out all of the facts?” – Even “facts” become distorted when not balanced with other facts or when given with negative motives.
  • “Can he/she be quoted if we check this out?” – The person who gives “an evil-report” often claim that he/she is “misquoted.” This is because his/her words and overriding impressions are reported, which may be distorted!

The Problems of Evil Report (Proverbs 16:28)

1.0 Definition

An Evil Report involves the distortion of facts or false information. It is given with wrong motivations and causes the Hearer to come to inaccurate conclusions and to respond with unscriptural “solutions.”  

1.1 Defilement

Listening to an evil-report results in defilementProverbs 16:28 “A Whisperer separates chief friends.”  Carrying an evil report to another person, is so destructive that it can destroy long-lasting friends. However, wrong doing should never be covered over but the exercise of correction is to be with God’s Wisdom, in a Scriptural manner – Galatians 6:1-2 “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass (sin), you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

1.2 Classification

From God’s Word, “an evil-report” could be classified into:   

  1. Whisperer – The person who secretly or privately passes “an evil-report” to others – Psalm 41:7 “All who hate me whisper together against me; against me they devise my hurt.” The person is also called “a Gossiper” (Proverbs 18:8; Proverbs 26:22).
    • Proverbs 18:8 (NIV) “The words of a gossip are like choice morsels (crumbs)they go down to a man’s inmost parts.”   
    • Proverbs 26:22 (NIV) “The words of a gossip are like choice morsels (crumbs); they go down to a man’s inmost parts.”
  2. Gossip – The person who magnifies and sensationalizes rumors and partial information – Proverbs 18:8 “The words of a talebearer (gossip) are like tasty trifles, and they go down into the inmost body.”
  3. Slanderer – The person who seeks to destroy another’s credibility or reputation with damaging facts, distortions of facts, or evil suspicions – Numbers 14:36 “Now the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land, who returned and made all the congregation complain him (Moses) by bringing a bad (evil) report of the land (Promised Land).”
    • Lucifer (later called Satan) slandered God and caused one-third of the Angelic Hosts to Fall (Ezekiel 28:12-19; Revelation 12:4).
    • Satan is the Slanderer (Accuser) of the brethren (Christians – Revelation 12:10b).
  4. Busybody – The person who digs up “an evil-report” and makes it his business to spread them by means of gossip, slander, or whispering. Such an action is associated with the sin of murder or stealing as shown in 1Peter 4:15 “Let none of you suffer as a murderer or as a thief or as an evildoer or as a busybody in other men’ matters.”      

1.3 Failure to Understand

The person who spreads “an evil-report” does not take heed of the damages that could result – 2 Corinthians 2:11 “Satan will gain an advantage over us if we are ignorant of his devices.” Satan’s scheme is to spread “an evil-report” and create division amongst the brethren – James 3:6 “The tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity (lawlessness)……it defiles the whole body and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.”  

  1. Failed to Understand of how the unclean defiles the clean, rather than the clean influencing the unclean – Haggai 2:11-13 “Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Now, ask the priests concerning the law, saying, If one carries holy meat in the fold of his garment, and with the edge he touches bread or stew, wine or oil, or any food, will it become holy’ Then the priests answered and said, ‘No.’ And Haggai said, it one who is unclean because of a dead body touches any of these, will it be unclean?’”
  2. Failed to Understand of how “an evil-report” destroys close friendship – Proverbs 17:9 “He that covers a transgression seeks love; but he that repeats a matter separates good friends.”  
  3. Failed to Understand of what constitutes “an evil-report?” – “An evil-report” is an unauthorized or distorted report which influences us to form a poor or unwarranted opinion about another person – Proverbs 26:24-25 “He that hates dissembled with his lips, and lays up deceit within him, when he speaks fair, believe him not; for there are seven abominations in his heart.”   
  4. Failed to Understand the nature behind “an evil-report,” is self-seeking and self-promotionJames 3:14-16 “But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, and demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.”
    • Bitterness – Reacting because of personal hurts.
    • Rebellion – Justifying an independent spirit.
    • Deception – Believing that “an evil-report” is the right thing to give.
    • Pride – Self-seeking and wanting to exalt-justify-self.
    • Guilt – Justifying past actions or attitudes.
    • Envy – Desiring what another has.
  5. Failed to Understand how susceptible we are to “an evil-report” – We enjoy hearing “an evil-report” because it puts down another person; this attitude is part of human Fallen-Nature – Proverbs 14:15 “The simple (fool) believes every word; but the prudent man looks well to his going.”  
  6. Failed to Understand that Satan uses “an evil-report” to damage and ultimately destroy a person or the ministry – Proverbs 26:21 “As coal are to burning and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife.”
    • To discredit spiritual leadership.
    • To cause Christians to close their hearts toward each other.
    • To multiply conflicts and produce ungodliness.

Reaping what you sow (Proverbs 12:14b) (Part 2)

Our Six Basic Responsibilities:

1. Our Words/Actions – Proverbs 14:8,14 “The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way…the backslider in heart will have his fill of his own ways, but a good man will be satisfied with his” For an Individual to enjoy his spiritual and mental health, he has to take hold of his life, as a child of God, and be responsible and accountable for his words/actions, both as benefit and the penalty. He must try not to shift the blame onto others or circumstances, for his failures. Developing this attitude helps him to understand his weaknesses and strengths, and thus, take advantage of the principle of “sowing and reaping,” – overcomes his weaknesses and builds on his strengths.

2. Make Proper Choices – God created us, Individually, with a free-will with the right to choose. If we do what is right, underpinned by God’s Love, we will reap the benefits of our choice: “A prudent man sees evil and hides himself, the naïve proceed and pay the penalty” (Proverbs 27:12). The right to choose and to make decision is ours, Divinely given, and we should make the best of it.

3. Do Our Best – Proverbs 18:9 “He who is slothful in his work is a brother to him who is a great destroyer.” Generally, an Individual’s mindset is to do as little as possible, with short-cuts, and expects great result; whereas “wisdom’s way,” is to do our best; to work to the uttermost perimeter of our God’s given talents and abilities, – reaping the benefits of hard work and diligent – Proverbs 22:29 “Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before unknown men.” Laziness is self-destructive – Proverbs 12:24 “The hand of the diligent will rules, but the lazy man will be put to forced labour.

4. Continuous LearningProverbs 19:2 “It is not good for a person to be without knowledge.” The moment we stop learning and adjusting, we begin to back-slide in our God’s given gifting and ability. Life will not alter to suit our situation; we need to read and adjust and take hold of the best, in the situation. We are responsible to educate ourselves on the things of life – be STREET-WISEMatthew 10:16 “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves; be ye, therefore, wise as a serpent and harmless as doves.”

5. Doing to OthersProverbs 11:27 “He who diligently seeks good seeks favour, but he who searches after evil, it will come to him” The Bible teaches that “we do unto others, as we desire others to do unto us – Matthew 7:12 “Therefore, all things whatsoever you would that men should do to you: do you even so to them: for this is the Law and the Prophets…..shall also do to them; for this is the Law and the Prophets.”  Cain’s question: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Was a rhetorical question. We are responsible not to impose upon the welfare of others and to consider how our actions will affect them. Remember, we will receive back in kind the blessing or the misery we bring into the lives of others.

6. Good Conscience

Proverbs 28:18 “He whose walk is blameless is kept safe, but he whose ways are perverse will suddenly fall.” & Proverbs 21:3 “To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.” Our words/deeds must all be done in good conscience – Acts 23:1b “I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.” Thus, in the law of “sowing and reaping,” we are first and foremost accountable to ourselves. When we are faced with a choice our criteria for judging what we should do should not be based on what others will think or what is in it for us, but solely on what is right (before God and our conscience). What we say and do must be right in the sight of God based on right motives and attitude, must leave us with a comfortable conscience. One of the ways to make our lives meaningful and easier is to live within the realm God’s Word – Hebrews 4:12 “For the Word (logos) of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

Reaping what you sow (Proverbs 12:14b) (Part 1)

The Statement

Proverbs 12:14b “The deeds of a man’s hands will return to him.”

Law of Nature

Sowing and reaping is a universal law of nature, set-in-place by God. Every Farmer expects a harvest when he sows/plants; he knows that, except for the unforeseen weather conditions or natural disasters, he will be able to reap for the finance, time, and labour he invested. This law of “sowing & reaping,” applies to the physical world, but God has created within His universe a spiritual ecology, a principle of recompense that governs our actions and behaviour.Scripture teaches that for everything we do there is a consequence that is commensurate with the deed. This law of recompense (reward), is stated in God’s Word (Scripture):

  • Proverbs 12:14b “The deeds of a man’s hands will return to him.”
  • Galatians 6:7 explains: “Whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.”
  • Proverbs 11:18 “He who sows righteousness gets a true reward.”

These are God’s Great Promise, taken in the positive aspects. To a large extent we can determine the results of our actions by what we do and how we do it; since we can choose what to sow, we can dictate what return to us

  • Newton’s Third Law of Motion: “To every force and action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” 
  • Carousel Theory: “What goes around, comes around” – What we do boomerangs – it comes back to us in kind.

In a Situation – If we cannot control our temper, in a tense situation, we will get turmoil in return as Proverbs 15:18 warns: “A hot-tempered man stirs up strife.”  But, if we take hold of ourselves even when provoked, the end-result would be different, as “The (one who is) slow to anger pacifies contention…A gentle answer turns away wrath” (Proverbs 15:18, 1). 

First Principle

We must Sow before We ReapGalatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” A seed that is not planted will not bear fruits. Planting carries with it the expectation of harvest. The human counterpart of this law of nature is that once we have done something we can never undo it:

  1. The result is beyond our control once a deed/word has been done/spoken.
  2. The result is predetermined by our action and once begun, is irreversible.
  3. A deed, once done, cannot be undone, All, we can do is live with the consequence, be it bitter or sweet.

Peter Marshall wisely observed that “small deeds done are better than great deeds planned.” The only way we can reap is to sow. Thus, we must consciously sow “God’s Goodness & Love” among us and to the people.

Second Principle

We Reap What We SowProverbs 10:4 “Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth.” & Proverbs 10:16 “The wages of the righteous bring them life, but the income of the wicked brings them punishment.” The nature of the reward is determined by what we “sow.” Righteousness is imbedded with its own reward, as with wrongful action/word. The results that are produced by our action/word will resemble those action/word. Every deed is followed by its corresponding effect. We reap whatever we sow.

Third Principle

We will Reap in Proper Time – Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Paul said that “in proper time we shall reap.” “In proper time” may be right away or a long time off because what we do can have one of two results: Immediate or delayed. This principle implies that we must consider the final, long-term results of our actions/words rather than immediate satisfactions. What we do now may affect the total scope of our life and the lives of others, months or even years from now.

Fourth Principle

We Reap More than We SowProverbs 11:24-25 “One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper.” Again, this is illustrated in the physical world – “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains (just one grain; never becomes more but lives by itself alone). But if it dies, it produces many others and yields a rich harvest” (John 12:24, AMP). The Word of God warns: “He who sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly” (2Corinthians 9:6).

To be continued….. Stay Tuned…..

Seven Characters of Conscience (Romans 2:14-15) (Part 3)

4. Judicial

Romans 2:15 “bearing witness…….accusing or else excusing one another.” Conscience does not function legislatively, but judicially.

  • Applies the Law – Conscience is not the law; Conscience applies the law, i.e., judicial. Conscience is not the “moral standard.”
  • Bears Witness – Conscience bears witness to the “moral standard” within the Person. In different parts of the world, there are different “moral standards.”
  • Court-Room – Conscience is man’s “inner courtroom;” Conscience sits at the bench as a Judge, Witness and Jury.
  • Testifies – Conscience testifies to the good and the bad in the Person – this is often missed from view; usually Conscience is thought of as concerned only with the evil; and its power and witness are dreaded. Conscience ought to be the cheer of life; a man knows when he has done right; appraising his life, he sometimes approves. “Conscience makes cowards of us all;” but it is equally true that “Conscience can make brave men of us all.”
  • Faculty – Conscience testifies to the bad in the good – And that is the real ground of a Person’s fear. Self-esteem see only good; Conscience never does. It finds the sinister mark everywhere, and always qualifies its approval and praise. “Nevertheless, I have somewhat against thee.”
  • Assurance – Conscience testifies to the good in the bad – And this keeps fear from becoming hopeless and despairing. The irretrievably has is a conception that can only be associated with demons, not with man. And it is not a genuine Conscience that judges in a blind, sectarian way, and makes a man accuse himself as hopelessly bad.
  • Illumination – Conscience puts both bad and good out of the self-light into the Divine light – Based on the sense a man has of God, will be his Conscience – judgment of his own conduct. Right sense of God brings a reverent and humble fear; the Conscience of evil brings a humiliating and anxious fear. The self-estimate of iniquities is painful enough but what shall he says of the Divine estimate of those same iniquities?

When he does something right, his Conscience approves and commends him, “that’s good!”  When he does something wrong, his Conscience accuses him, “that’s wrong!” Therefore, it hurts. The Others has “the work (requirement) of the Law (of God’s Word) written in his hearts” and not the Law of God’s (God’s Word) – Romans 2:15 “The work of the law written in their hearts.”  Whereas, we has “the Law of God (God’s Word)” written in his heart – Jeremiah 31:33 “I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, and will be their God, and they shall be my people” (Hebrews 8:10).

5. Standard

Conscience does not create the “moral standard;” it assumes the presence of a valid “moral standard” and acts upon that “moral-standard” of the Person (Romans 2:15). The “moral standard” used differs from Person to Person. Conscience functions based on the “moral standard” the Person holds.

6. Umpire

Conscience acts as an Umpire and it does not make the rules but decides in the light of the existing rules (“moral-standard”) the Person holds. Conscience refuses to have no “moral standard.”

7. Can be manipulated

Conscience can be manipulated or changed by the introduction of new “moral standard” (norms) – for better for worse.

Stay tune…..to be continued.

Four Types of People (Proverbs 18:1-4) (Part 2)

The Wicked People

Proverbs 18:3 “When the Wicked cometh, then cometh also contempt and, with ignominy (humiliation), reproach (criticism).” (NIV) “When Wickedness comes, so does contempt, and with shame comes disgrace.” – Wicked Person keeps miserable company of: “Contempt {shame}, ignominy {humiliation}, and reproach {scandal}.

The two lines of Proverbs are arranged synthetically, the three term (contempt {shame}, ignominy {humiliation}, reproach {scandal}) telescoping out in a description of the ever-increasing ignominy {humiliation} that befalls the “Wicked-Person.

  • Wickedness brings “contempt” (shame).
  • Wickedness leads to “ignominy” (humiliation).
  • Wickedness leads to “reproach” (scandal).

When the Wicked Person comes, all these evils (contempt {shame}, ignominy {humiliation}, reproach {scandal}) followed him (Perowne). Wickedness is both a contemptible (disgraceful) and a contemptuous (scornful) thing (Thomas). Wickedness brings with it “contempt” {shame}, “ignominy” {humiliation} and “reproach” {scandal}.

Pride and Selfishness are the characteristic of the Wicked, as the Wicked Person comes, he is apt to cast contempt (shame), ignominy (humiliation) and reproach (scandal) on every man’s face (Bishop Hall). His neighbour’s circumstances or illnesses provides him with an opportunity to ridicule (mock) his (Wicked) neighbour; and God’s Word finds no favour in his (Wicked Person’s) sight. God’s people are the object of his (Wicked) contempt.

When the Wicked Person comes, he is accompanied by “contempt” (buz). The attitude of contempt characterizes the Wicked Person, we may say that “contempt” is with him wherever he goes. “Ignominy” (qalon – humiliation) parallels “wicked,” indicating that the Wicked Person is the Person without grace, thus, bringing humiliation to himself. He is accompanied by “reproach” (herep – scandal), the lack of honour that he directs toward those who are around him.

The Wise Man

Proverbs 18:4 (KJV) “The words of a man’s mouth are like deep waters, and the wellspring of wisdom like a flowing brook.” (NIV) “The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters, but the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.” –  The description of the Wise-man of Proverbs 18:4 expresses the depth, the abundance, the clearness, and the force of the thoughts of the Wise-man, which is “the spring of life,” honest and revealing truth:

  • The “wellspring of wisdom” is parallel to the “deep waters.” – that is, there is “depth” in the Wise-Person thoughts and attitude, and the things he does
  • The Wise Person is full of useful things and is always able to contribute profitably on many matters. His deep insight (“deep waters”) is drawn from “the Fountain of Living Water” – John 7:38-39 “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of Living Waters……of the Holy Spirit”
  • The Wise-Person’s Word flows like a spring brook, clear, clean, and cleansing that edify, exhort, and comfort, and encourage and refresh the Hearers.  
  • When the Person has immersed himself in God’s Wisdom, his words in themselves deep waters, and as he speaks, he become a fruitful as “a bubbling brook.”   This is a picturesque description of the value of wisdom.

The parallelism requires that the “words of a man’s mouth” be wise words. These are “deep-waters” (Proverbs 20:5), profound and providing an inexhaustible supply of counsel and blessing. Verse 4b explains verse 4a, the “Well-spring” (or “Fountain”) of Wisdom “being an emblematic (symbolic) portrayed of wise speech. This is “a bubbling brook,” a limitless source of God’s Wisdom.