February 8, 2024


Proverbs 11:17-18 - A man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself. The wicked earns deceptive wages, but one who sows righteousness gets a sure reward.


This Bible passage from Proverbs highlights the importance and benefits of kindness. It states that a man who is kind benefits himself, while a cruel man hurts himself (v.17). This reminds us that how we treat others comes back to affect us. When we are kind, merciful, and compassionate towards others, it brings positive effects in our own lives. In contrast, cruelty only breeds more pain. The passage also contrasts the wicked, who earn deceptive wages, with the righteous, who sow righteousness and get a sure reward (v.18). The wicked may seem to prosper for a time through dishonest gain, but it will not last. Meanwhile, those who live uprightly plant seeds of righteousness that will bear lasting fruit. Though the righteous may not become rich, they have the security of walking in God's blessing and will ultimately be rewarded. In summary, this passage extols the personal benefits of kindness and warns against the self-destructive nature of cruelty. It calls us to sow righteousness rather than wickedness, promising that this path leads to life and reward (v.19).


The call to kindness in this passage is so simple and yet profoundly true. When we take time to treat others with mercy, compassion, and care, it fills our own hearts with joy and peace. But when we grow cold, selfish, and cruel, that bitterness eats away at our souls. Truly, how we live towards others directly impacts the quality of our inner lives. This reminds me of Jesus' famous command to "love your neighbor as yourself" (Mark 12:31). He understood perfectly that loving others is the secret to our own happiness. The more we pour ourselves out to meet the needs of others, the more our own cups are filled with purpose and meaning. However, this passage also warns us that the path of kindness and righteousness is not always easy. The wicked may seem to get ahead through dishonesty and selfish ambition. But while their prosperity is fleeting, the righteous continue sowing seeds of mercy and justice that will bear fruit for eternity. As Martin Luther King Jr. famously said, "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." My prayer is that we would find the courage to walk the high road of compassion and integrity each day, even when it seems others are getting ahead. For in blessing others, we open ourselves to receive God's blessing. And in the end, that is the only reward that truly matters.


Gracious God, fill our hearts with your love and compassion each day. Give us eyes to see the needs around us and hands ready to serve. Help us sow seeds of kindness and righteousness wherever we go. Remind us often that in blessing others, we open ourselves to receive your blessing. May our souls prosper through caring for the people you place in our lives. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.

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