Daily Wisdom

Meditations on the Book of Proverbs

5 The righteous hate what is false,

   but the wicked make themselves a stench

   and bring shame on themselves.

6 Righteousness guards the person of integrity,

   but wickedness overthrows the sinner.

 

 What are the consequences of wicked behavior? What is at stake in the temptation to deceive? The righteous hate falsehood because they know where it leads. Nothing good comes from it, if there is any benefit at all it is tainted. The wicked deceive because they are deceived, temptation always promises more than it can deliver. Their duplicity becomes a stench to all who know them, self-disgust sabotages whatever success they have. Shame is their rightful reward; they are humiliated in their attempts to magnify themselves.

 “Righteousness guards the person of integrity, but wickedness overthrows the sinner.” The sinner may try to protect himself from the consequences of what he does, but the righteous are guarded by avoiding the deed itself. “I can handle the consequences,” the fool tells himself, but he underestimates their magnitude. One bad decision leads to another, and it is only a matter of time before the burden becomes overwhelming. The tragedy is that the sinner is enslaved by his own decisions, he is trapped by his own snares, he falls into the pit which he himself has dug.

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