Today’s reading: Proverbs 21-31, Psalm 73
Today, let’s turn our attention to one more character trait that is highlighted in the Proverbs. Numerous examples of self-discipline can be found throughout the book, yet they seem to appear with more frequency and force in today’s reading. For the book’s author, this trait offers further evidence of a life being guided by God’s wisdom.
Sadly, this trait is one that seems sorely lacking in our world today. Far too many examples reveal that we have allowed our love affair with individualism to become a license for gross indulgence and our obsession with rights to permit recklessness. Lost in the process is a healthy respect for the value of community and the importance of responsibility.
What wise admonitions of restraint we find in some of today’s verses:
“Watch your words and hold your tongue; you’ll save yourself a lot of grief.” (21:23)
“Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich; restrain yourself!” (23:4)
“Don’t laugh when your enemy fall; don’t crow over his collapse.” (24:17)
“Don’t jump to conclusions–there may be a perfectly good explanation for what you just saw.” (25:8)
Imagine how differently a variety of scenarios might play out if words like these were allowed to shape behavior. . .in the classroom, at the ballfield, on Capitol Hill, in our homes.
A society whose members forget their interdependency is one that ultimately cannot survive. The book of Proverbs has much to teach us about how to live in a way that honors others and seeks the best for all.