The Bible tackles scores of timeless and essential subjects, but among them are two important issues deeply worthy of our consideration: justice and humility.
In a world in which values and actions so often fail to align with these ideals, the Bible calls us to be better, to think deeper and to understand that exercising humility, wisdom and compassion for others is essential.
Much of this starts with what's in our hearts — and what comes out of our mouths.
Proverbs 17:4 hits on the wickedness of a person’s tongue — a theme that is evident throughout the entirety of the book, showcasing its immense importance in believers' lives. The verse reads, “A wicked person listens to deceitful lips; a liar pays attention to a destructive tongue.”
In an era in which society is severely splintered over politics, “fake news” and so much more, it’s essential to remember the importance of truth — and kindness — in all of our affairs. Social media is just one of the arenas where self-restraint has too often disintegrated.
People sometimes take to Twitter and Facebook to mock the vulnerable, to insult one another and, surely most disturbingly, to even relish in the deaths and misfortunes of their ideological opponents. Not entirely shocking is the fact that Proverbs addressed these issues of the heart (and "mouth") thousands of years ago.
Solomon writes, “Whoever mocks the poor shows contempt for their Maker; whoever gloats over disaster will not go unpunished” (Proverbs 17:5).
These are pretty stirring words — and they are a reminder to us in how we are to conduct ourselves in divisive times. Unfortunately, though, foolishness and cruelty abound.
Beyond kindness, ensuring justice is an important call, with Solomon writing, “Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent — the LORD detests them both” (Proverbs 17:15 NIV).
In an era in which true crime dominates books, podcasts and TV shows, this advice must be heeded. After all, people’s lives depend on a fair and just system, and the Bible clearly tells us that we should care about how these issues play out.
And Solomon wasn’t done there, adding the following in Proverbs 17:23: “The wicked accept bribes in secret to pervert the course of justice.”
Truly prospering in life means keeping one’s heart uncorrupted while also keeping the tongue from horrific language and slanders:
“The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered.” -Proverbs 17:27 NIV
In the end, Jesus’ call for us to love God and love other people should dictate how we interact with others, including strangers. We should work diligently to ensure that wisdom and justice are at the centerpiece of our worldview, our lives and the communities in which we live.