12 May A Proverbs A Day // Proverbs 12
The 12th // Proverbs 12
The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” –Proverbs 12:18
I’m kind of paranoid. I often times find myself in a room, usually at school, thinking that people are talking about me or that I’m going to get in trouble for something. At work a broad email will be sent out to the staff mentioning something like… dress code compliance, and I’ll have a small anxiety attack thinking that it was directed specifically at me.
In those moments, I have to remind myself that I’m NOT the center of the universe. Chances are people aren’t talking about me because… guess what… THEY HAVE LIVES OF THEIR OWN [and if they are, they have their own battles to face…].
The reality is that this is a big, big world. While we can easily get caught up in our daily lives and our current situations, Solomon reminds us that we aren’t the center of the universe. He tells us in chapter 12 “This world is bigger than you. Your decisions affect others.”
Solomon urges us to consider how our decisions affect people. He urges us to consider the world, the people and the animals around us. The wise acknowledge that the world is bigger than they are, yet our words, our choices, our actions have lasting consequences. He says that righteousness brings joy and blessings to those around you and, in contrast, recklessness, whether you intend it or not, can bring lasting pain onto others.
Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook and insult.” –Proverbs 12:16
Our actions affect others.
What about those we love? According to Proverbs 12, wives of noble character are like a crown on their husbands’ heads, but wives who are disgraceful decay their husbands’ bones! [12:4] As a wife, I can be a source of pride for my husband [the good type] or I have the power to wear him down and cripple him from the inside out! Oh gosh. I didn’t realize I have the potential to bless or cause such harm to someone I love. In verse 26, Solomon tells us that the righteous choose their friends carefully because they know that we are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with and that wicked people have the potential to lead us astray.
What about strangers? What about the lady behind the check in counter at American Airlines who has just made me very angry?? Solomon says that fools show their annoyance right away, but the wise overlook insults [14:16] and that the wicked’s words have the potential to draw blood [he says their like a sword in 12:18], but that the upright’s words alone can save and heal someone! [12:6] My reaction to Miss American Airlines could harm her… or it could save her… Solomon says that when people hear the words of the wise, they are filled with good! [12:14]
What about animals and the world? I love seeing that wisdom and righteousness include loving the Earth and the animals in it! God promises those who care for the Earth and the animals will be able to live from the Earth and enjoy the nutritional benefits of the animals. Solomon tells us that the righteous take time to care for animals [12:10] and that even the kindest act done by a wicked man is cruel! He tells us that the men who work the land and take care of it will prosper and eat from the land [12:11] and that those who work hard are able to eat the meats of the game they so carefully hunted, but that those who are lazy or who just chase fantasies will be hungry [12:27].
Today, I pray that I remember that I am not the center of the universe. I pray that I always remember that my words, my actions and my reactions have the potential to heal or the harm others. Especially as a teacher, I have the power to build up and tear down in an instant. I pray that I walk through my life carrying the weight of that reality and that I can pause for a moment before doing something that can cause that depth of pain for someone.