- Dr. Stieglitz
Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 11:11
"By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, but by the mouth of the wicked it is torn down."
The Scripture declares clearly that there are blessings that attend to the actions of righteous people. These blessings are spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, monetary, relational, and societal (Proverbs 10:6). It is this societal blessing that is often overlooked in our day and age. When people do the real intent of the Ten Commandments, it blesses not just them as individuals but the whole of the community in which they dwell.
We need more people who will do the opposite of violating the commandments – people who seek to delight God and bring blessing upon themselves and others by doing selfless actions of love, worship, compassion, and generosity. Remember that in the Ten Commandments there are not just boundaries for selfish behavior but directions about selfless behavior.
The word upright is the word which means within the confines of morality – the Ten Commandments – but it also means doing positive actions within those confines. We have forgotten to mention and teach that people bless the whole community when they act in an upright way. Uprightness is not a negative; it is a positive. A man who is upright does not just refrain from adultery but instead builds a strong, vibrant marriage. A man who is upright does not just refuse to steal but instead develops – through hard work – knowledge, insight, and wisdom, a pile of resources that he can generously share with his loved one and his community.
In our culture we have become under the direction of those who are consumed with pushing out the limits of what is permissible by law. It is this desire to be able to do more within the boundaries of legality that has consumed our culture. Why is this outlawed? Why can't we do this? This is the cry of the last fifty years of western civilization. As we have quickly dismantled the morality that has been handed to us by the accumulated wisdom of three millennia, we have seen an increase in divorce, murder, unwed pregnancy, suicide, gangs, stealing, psychosis, and now disease, corruption, sexual deviancy, and the like. We have moved the lines of morality and have watched a society and culture disintegrate.
This proverb is so true that we need to have politicians pay attention. The blessing of the upright exalts a city and not the debauched conduct of those that live outside the boundaries of right and wrong. Unfortunately much of our media have tried to magnify those cities that permit the most sin. This is tragic and misleading.
but by the mouth of the wicked it is torn down
A city can be destroyed through the permissive musing of the wicked. Those who are wicked give hearty approval to those who flaunt God's rule, the apostle tells us in Romans 1. It is this promotion of expanded moral boundaries that destroys the fabric of a city.
A return to old-fashioned morality has been good for the towns that have embraced it, and flaunting morality has meant that the citizens of a town are less safe and secure.
This is all well and good but what does this have to do with the individual – with you? Solomon is trying to cause you to realize that you present your city with a gift when you act righteously. When God blesses you, that blessing spills over to the whole of the city. Even though the newspapers will not necessarily cover your righteousness, it will make a difference for the whole city: volunteering at the Rescue Mission; serving at the retirement home; welcoming an unexpected baby home rather than aborting it; building a loving marriage and family rather than having the affair; teaching the underprivileged; serving at your local church a couple hours a week; building wealth enough to be generous rather than cheating, stealing, and defrauding to get ahead; treating people as individuals, not labeling and categorizing people because of one trait about them; by enjoying the blessings and relationships that you do have rather than coveting and longing after other people's blessings and relationships.
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