We shouldn’t be this kind of people.

 

[Proverbs 19:19, 25, 28, 29]

 

 

What kind of person do you want to be?  Personally, I think ‘What kind of person should I be?’ is more important than the question ‘What should I do?’  So if we look at our church membership class, there is an important statement regarding the spiritual attitude that we all need to pursue: “The kind of person you are is far more important than the kind of work you do”.  Here we must be clear about the priority of our spiritual life.  The priority is what kind of person should I be before God.  In other words, our priority is being, not doing.  The reason is because deeds must come from being, not other way around.  It means that in the transformation of character, that is as we become like Jesus, we must follow the example of Jesus.

 

What kind of person should we be?  I would like to share with you a poem written by Haein Lee, Let me be this kind of person in the New Year.  The reason is because by reading this poem, we can think a little bit about what kind of person we should be: ‘Let me be ‘a woman of prayer’ who doesn’t despair in the midst of difficulties with the warmth of ordinary but has a sun in my heart and proceeds with trust and courage.  No more, no less, let me become ‘a woman of hope’ who live bright and clear with a bright and round heart that is as bright as the full moon of the New Year.  Please make me ‘a person of love’ who is a neighbor who approaches everyone as a friend with a color that doesn't stand out too much, but who takes action rather than words.  Cherish the peace of mind that is the fruit of long waits and pain, and let me become ‘a peaceful woman’ who first practices reconciliation and forgiveness.  Even in ordinary everyday life like that day, let me pray for new thanksgiving, and find meaning in small things and become ‘a woman of joy’ who doesn’t know boredom’ (Internet).  Shouldn't we all be people of prayer’ and people of love?  As Haein Lee says, if we all become people of hope, people of peace, and people of joy, wouldn't we be good at playing the role of light and salt in this world?  The Bible teaches us what kind of person we should be.  For example, if we look at the Book of Proverbs that we meditate on every Wednesday prayer meeting, the Bible teaches that we must be wise people.  The Book of Proverb teaches us to be a wise person who fears God with His wisdom and obeys His commandments.  At the same time, the Bible instructs us not to be this kind of person.  For example, the Bible Proverb teaches us that we should not be a fool.

 

In Proverbs 19:19, 25:28-29, there are 3 types of people.  When I think of these 3 kinds of people, I think I shouldn't be like thisSo, I would like to learn the lessons God gives us by thinking about these three kinds of people under the heading “We shouldn’t be this kind of person.’ 

 

            First, we shouldn’t be “A hot-tempered man”.

 

Look at Proverbs 19:19 – “A hot-tempered man must pay the penalty; if you rescue him, you will have to do it again.”  Have you ever been fiercely angry?  If you haven't, have you ever seen someone like that?  Is there anyone you think who is really furious?  “A hot-tempered man”, a person who has a temper easily explodes anger.  It is said that there are six kinds of anger (Internet): (1) Sudden Rage.  This anger is a sudden, unexpected, sudden change of personality.  It is a situation in which feelings, thoughts, or actions aren’t completely or partially controlled.  (2) Seething Rage.  This anger is a cumulative reaction.  He is pathologically obsessed with situations where he feels unfair as it boils like lava under the veil of reason.  (3) Survival Rage.  This anger explodes when a threat is inflicted on a specific part that determines the value of one's existence.  (4) Impotent rage.  This anger is feeling of helplessness.  (5) Shame-based Rage.  This anger is a sensitive reaction even though it isn’t deliberately ignored.  (6) Abandonment Rage.  This anger occurs when we have difficulty withstanding loneliness and anxiety.  In a word, rage is powerful and extreme as Total Rage.  Talking is useless.  We fall into our own world.  But as time goes by, great guilt and remorse come.  Interestingly, the word “A hot-tempered” is also referred to as “furious” from the original Hebrew dictionary meaning (internet).  But looking at the word “furious”, in ancient Greek and Roman mythology, the name of the three goddesses of revenge is “Furies” (Internet).  The Romans called the goddess of vengeance Furia (Furies in English), which is the etymology of the word fury (anger, passion).  Originally, it meant a kind of violent fluctuating madness.  This means that someone is out of control of his behavior.  In the United States, the women who specifically act like this are called Fury.  As the years have passed, this meaning has weakened and furious contains only the meaning of ‘to be very angry’ (internet).

 

As we have already learned in Proverbs 15:18, the hot-tempered man stirs up dissension.  And if we look at Proverbs 29:22, the Bible says, “An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins.”  So the apostle Paul said in Ephesians 4:26-27: “In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”  When we are angry, we should not give the devil an opportunity to tempt us so that we don’t sin.  If we become angry like the hot-tempered man in Proverbs 19:19, then we have a lot of chance that we will sin against God.  Therefore, in Proverbs 19:19, the Bible says, “A hot-tempered man must pay the penalty ….”  Don't you think this is true?  The reason why it is natural for he who is fiercely angry to be punished is because he commits many sins.  One of those sins is not listening to God's reproof.  Even if he listens, he who is fiercely angry distorts God's rebuke and doesn’t truly repent of his sins.  In addition to this, as the second half of Proverbs 19:19 says, even if God rescues the man who is fiercely angry, it will happen again.  In other words, the man who is fiercely angered commits the sin even after being punished.  He who is fiercely angry with these repetitive sins is bound to be punished.  We shouldn't be those who are fiercely angry.  Rather, we should be those who are slow to anger (v. 11; 14:29; 15:18; 16:32).  The reason is because our God is slow to anger (Ex 3:6, Num. 14:18, Ps. 86:15, 145:8, Na. 1:3, Jo. 2:13, Jon. 4:2).  If we quickly become angry, we are fools (Prov. 14:17).  But if we are slow to get angry, the Bible says we are wise (19:11).  I hope and pray that we all become wise and be slow to anger.

 

            Second, we shouldn’t be “A corrupt witness”.

 

Look at Proverbs 19:28 – “A corrupt witness mocks at justice, and the mouth of the wicked gulps down evil.”  Here, who is a corrupt witness?  The corrupt witness is a worthless and wicked witness who deliberately distorts justice and ignores it.  The Bible says that the mouth of such wicked gulps down evil, which means that the mouth the corrupt witness pursues sin with an insatiable desire (Walvoord).  Here, the sin that the corrupt witness pursues  is to tell lies (6:19).  In other words, the corrupt witness is a false witness (19:5, 9).  Whenever I watch Korean dramas, I don't understand why there are so many lies.  I don't know if this is a cultural difference.  But I'm not sure whether they're lying in a respectful way or trying to hide something from the other person.  But one thing's for sure is a lie lead to other lies.  Then, in the end, I see them telling the truth only when they got caught.  I wonder why they don't tell the truth in the first place.  What do you think?  Do you think you have to tell the truth from the beginning, or do you think you should lie (good lie?) when you have to lie?

 

While meditating on Proverbs 19:28, I came across Proverbs 6:19 that we have already meditated on.  And this thought came to my mind when I meditated on these two words together: ‘The corrupt witness may lie and deliberately distort the truthful words so that he can stir up dissension among brothers.’  The Bible clearly states that the corrupt witness will not escape punishment and will be perished (19:5, 9; 21:28).  Why, then, do you think the corrupt witness deliberately distorts the truth and lies with his mouth?  I found the answer in Psalms 59:12 – “On account of the sin of their mouth and the words of their lips, Let them even be caught in their pride, And on account of curses and lies which they utter.”  What does it mean?  The reason why the corrupt witness deliberately distorts the truth and the lie with his mouth is because he is proud.  The proud and the corrupt witness distorts the truth and continues to lie with his lips.  If we look at Proverbs 14:5, 25, the Bible says: “A truthful witness does not deceive, but a false witness pours out lies.  …  A truthful witness saves lives, but a false witness is deceitful.”  As witnesses of Jesus Christ, we must be true witnesses (14:5, 25).  We must not lie with our mouths.  In particular, we must not falsely testify against our neighbors (Deut. 5:20).  We must not falsely testify against our neighbors (Prov. 25:18).  We must hate lies (13:5).  The reason is because God hates lies (12:22).  All lies don’t come from the truth (1 Jn. 2:21).  Therefore, we must speak the truth, not the lie (Prov. 12:17).

 

            Third and last, we shouldn’t be mockers.

 

Look at Proverbs 19:29 – “Penalties are prepared for mockers, and beatings for the backs of fools.”  Here, who are “mockers”?  Usually, when we say ‘That man is a mocker’, we seem to think that ‘He is proud and boastful and despises others’.  Or, when we say ‘That person is a mocker,’ we seem to think that the person doesn’t even know himself and is arrogant’.  Is there anybody like this around you?  Or do you ever think that there are times when you are so arrogant?  When I look at a Hebrew-English dictionary, I see that “a mocker” is defined like this: ‘A mocker is a proud, arrogant man who delights in contempt and is unable to discipline or rebuke.  No wisdom can be found in such a person’ (Whitaker).  In other words, the mocker is a proud person and a scoffer who doesn’t know himself.  Thus, he is a fool who rejoices to think he is better than others, despises others and hates to be admonished and rebuked.  God never shows grace to this man.  Rather, if we look at Proverbs 3:34, the Bible says that God mocks proud mockers.  And in Proverbs 9:12, the Bible says “if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer.”  The Bible clearly states that the mocker alone will suffer.  What should we do if we see arrogance in our children?  What should we do if we love our children and they don’t listen to our reproofs?  The Bible Proverbs 19:25 says, “Flog a mocker, and the simple will learn prudence; rebuke a discerning man, and he will gain knowledge.”  Look at Proverbs 10:13b – “…  but a rod is for the back of him who lacks judgment.”  Look at Proverbs 14:3a – “A fool's talk brings a rod to his back, ….”  Look at Proverbs 26:3 – “A whip for the horse, a halter for the donkey, and a rod for the backs of fools!”  After all, the Bible tells us to use the rod to discipline our arrogant children.  What is the reason?  Look at Proverbs 22:15 – “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.”  Look at Proverbs 29:15 – “The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother.”  Look at Proverbs 23:14 – “Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death.”

 

We should never be arrogant.  Rather, we should be humble.  We must not consider ourselves wise (26:12).  And we shouldn’t pretend to be somebody (12:9, 25:6).  We must not be proud (Rom. 12:16).  In a word, we should not be arrogant (1 Cor. 4:18).  Rather, we must humble ourselves (2 Chron. 12:6).  We must lower ourselves before God and people. We must be humble like Jesus (see Phil 2:6-8).  And, like the apostle Paul, we must become slaves to all people (1 Cor. 9:19).  What is the purpose?  The purpose is so that we may win more souls (v. 19).

 

What kind of people should we not be?  We must not be the hot-tempered people who are fiercely angry.  We must not be the corrupt witnesses.  We must not be the mockers.  Rather, we must be humble like Jesus.  Also, we must be true witnesses of Jesus.  And we must be slow to anger like Jesus.  In a word, we must all become like Jesus.  I sincerely hope and pray in the name of Jesus that we all become more and more like Jesus.