I was doing research for a different post when I came across these two verses.
Proverbs 11:9 — “With their mouths the godless destroy their neighbors, but through knowledge the righteous escape.”
Proverbs 11:12 — “Whoever derides their neighbor has no sense, but the one who has understanding holds their tongue.”
That is a good word, “deride,” although we don’t use it very often these days. It means to express contempt for someone or to ridicule.
I’d say contempt and ridicule are pretty accurate descriptions of our national discussion right now.
I don’t know who will win the presidential election in November, but of one thing I am sure — if we don’t stop deriding each other, then almost half the nation will be mad enough to shut down the system regardless of the outcome.
Nobody wins on this path. Nobody.
Don’t trust me, listen to Proverbs again.
Proverbs 11:11 — “By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, but by the mouth of the wicked it is torn down.”
That wicked mouth is going to tear down the city.
What I love about Proverbs, though, is that you always get the positive with the negative, the answer with the problem. In this case we are told “through knowledge the righteous escape” and “one who has understanding holds his tongue.”
Knowledge and understanding are the answer to contempt and ridicule.
But, maybe not.
Solomon says in Proverbs 4:7: “… Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.”
Though it cost all you have.
I wonder how many people are willing to give that much to truly gain knowledge and understanding.
Can you pick up the remote and watch a different news channel? Will you read a different point of view? How about walking a mile in another man’s shoes or simply sitting down and listening to the burdens of a neighbor who doesn’t think like you?
Can you turn off the contempt and ridicule long enough to see that the person on the other side of the aisle really wants to make the world a better place, as well?
I hope so.
Or else it might cost us all we have.