Proverbs 17:4-5

4 A wicked person listens to deceitful lips;

   a liar pays attention to a destructive tongue.

5 Whoever mocks the poor shows contempt for their Maker;

   whoever gloats over disaster will not go unpunished.


 The wicked are ignorant of where their paths lead. They pursue sex, money and power without restraint, and hold the moral truths that govern these things in contempt. Deceitful lips say that sex is best without commitment, money is worth exploitation, and power is for domination. They exchange the truth for lies, innocence for cynicism, purity for corruption. They don’t value other people, only the things they can take from them.

 The wise are able to see deception for what it is, and are not tempted by the paths of destruction. They know that sex without commitment is like uncontrolled fire, burning relationships instead bringing warmth. They see money as a means of expanding opportunities for others, they are honest in acquiring it and generous in its use. They leverage their power not to dominate but to liberate, not for their own sake but for the benefit of those around them. They value people above things, and use what they have to bless others.

 “Whoever mocks the poor shows contempt for their Maker; whoever gloats over disaster will not go unpunished.” What does the mocker have in common with the gloater? They both lack gratitude. The wise person is grateful to his Maker for all that he has, he knows that his intelligence, his abilities, his opportunities were all gifts. He has pity on those struck by disaster, because he knows his own weaknesses and vulnerabilities. He treats the poor with dignity, knowing they also bear the image of their Maker. He is grateful because he is humble, he finds satisfaction in the life he is given.

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