Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 24:2
"For their minds devise violence, and their lips talk of trouble"
This is a very important proverb describing the thinking of those that God describes as evil. We all find ourselves tempted to give into this kind of thinking, but it will surely move us in the direction of evil and a non-satisfying life.
for their minds devise violence
The word violence is the Hebrew word sod which means havoc, to spoil, maltreatment, etc. What one has to see in this word is often the idea of vengeance or payback with a violent or escalating element. The evil person is the one who gives voice and place to the thoughts that come across everyone’s mind when they have been crossed: How will I make them pay for doing this to me? If you give into this kind of thinking, then you will become evil or have already become evil. The constant defense of your own ego or plans against others ends with a person in a very evil place. You are the embodiment of selfishness gone to seed.
I remember watching a man literally challenge every driver – who did not yield to his explicit right-of-way – to a fist fight. This man was unable to work because of his inability to get along with anyone except those who totally submitted to his thinking. He destroyed his own family and every relationship that he touched all by loudly and violently exerting his rights, ego, and ideas. When selfishness takes over a man or woman, they will end up across the line of the Ten Commandments; and what they will become once over there is a person who will become consumed with payback and competition. This may be actual violence or it can be political, reputational, emotional, mental, or vocational revenge and havoc.
Don't go down this road where every wrong must be redressed. Don't feel as though every slight and every injustice must have an answer. Life is not always fair to you or supportive of what you want to do. Get over it and move forward and find another way. Seek justice for the big things, not everything.
By the way, if you find yourself working for a person who needs to keep track of every aspect of non-support or perceived disloyalty and then make the person pay, this is an evil person who bends the rules in all sorts of ways to fit his/her own situation.
Don't let your mind go there. It will be tempted to engage in this type of havoc and destruction. Let it go.
and their lips talk of trouble
The evil people are always talking about the trouble they will cause to others -- especially those who cross them or who do not help them or who oppose them. There is this idea of themselves as the necessary good and all others need to get out of the way and or help this irresistible good. This is selfishness at its core -- to believe in every case that your ideas need to be implemented; that your plans and ego need to be dominant. Everyone has a measure of this, but those who choose to live outside of God's moral boundary structure have huge doses of this selfishness and of this "here is what I want to do to the person who got in my way."
Get out of the revenge business and into the promotion of good ideas and helpful products. There will be others who will oppose you as competitors without needing to see them as enemies. Do not believe that everyone who does not openly support you needs to be taught a lesson.
Do not keep talking about how wronged you were and what you are going to do about it. This type of vengeance will eat you alive.
God, through Solomon, is making an observation that evil men have over time allowed themselves to become the sum total of what is right and good and necessary. This leads to the need for vengeance and trouble for those who do not go along. Everything is seen as either for us or against us and what will be done to those who are against us.
It is interesting that the next verses deal with building a house with wisdom and filling the rooms with treasure. The connection is that if you are spending your time thinking and talking and planning how to pay people back, you are not going after building your own house and treasure. Go after the positive rather than seeking to make sure that the other person is punished.
This type of payback threatens to infect every sphere of life -- politics, work, church, home, marriage, friends, etc. Don't let it infect you. Don't let payback and destruction dominate your mind; let wisdom and the building of a positive future become the goal and focus of your thinking.