1 Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them. 2 For their heart studieth destruction, and their lips talk of mischief.
19 Fret not thyself because of evil men, neither be thou envious at the wicked: 20 For there shall be no reward to the evil man; the candle of the wicked shall be put out.Proverbs 24:1, 2, 19, 20
Advantage of Getting Older
As we get older I think there are some things that make a whole lot more sense than they did when we were younger. The idea we see in these verses is one of those things that gets clearer to me with age: the wicked do not prosper.
A few weeks ago I was thinking along the same lines as these verses but hadn’t remembered that Proverbs covered this topic so clearly. I was thinking about how, as a younger person, I wondered what certain activities would be like. How fun and satisfying certain sins must be. Thankfully, I was spared from too much experimentation. Though, I can’t say I avoided everything that could have brought on great tragedy in my life.
Solomon tells us that we should not be jealous of people who seem to be enjoying their sinful lifestyle. The result of their sin is destruction.
Temporal or Eternal?
I don’t know that Solomon was thinking in the realm of eternity when he wrote these verses. He may have been writing only about the mortal life of the sinner. This is certainly what I was thinking a few weeks ago: the consequences of sin and how they affect this life.
Even someone who has put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ as Savior can fall into sin that results in tragedy and sadness. If you know, or suspect, that something is wrong, then just don’t do it. There is nothing good that can come from violating your own conscience and upbringing.
How Do I Know What is Right?
What Mom and Dad Taught
First, I would go back to what you were taught as a child. If your parents said you shouldn’t do it, then it is safe to assume that it is probably wrong. Certainly not all parents are correct in their morals nor do they all know what the Bible teaches, but they generally want to steer their children in the right way.
Of course, there are some things that are wrong for a 10 year old that is not wrong for a 25 year old. But generally, the good behavior and manners you were taught as a child is a good starting point for appropriate behavior.
Authority of the Bible
Secondly, I would go to the authority of the Bible. If the Bible touches on a topic in a clear way, then that should settle any questions for you.
“But, I don’t believe the Bible is the final authority.” Even if you don’t think the Bible is God’s authoritative Word, here are some results of living by the principles of the Bible: sober lifestyle that is out from under the control of external substances (drugs, alcohol, etc.), having a good relationship with your spouse, living in harmony with your neighbors, being honest with and forgiving to those around you. I think most people would be glad to look back on a life like that instead of bar fights, constant squabbling, loss of a child because of driving under the influence, prison time, or a host of other sad consequences to sin.
Thirdly, there are some activities that may not have any clear teaching in the Bible, and they are things your parents didn’t teach you about. There are some clear principles of decision making that can help in those instances.
Observing the Results
Finally, be observant of the wicked and the consequences of their choices. Solomon says not to be jealous of their lifestyle. If something is wrong, no matter how the world tries to dress it up and sell it on TV commercials, you should avoid getting involved with that sin.
17 Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the Lord all the day long.Proverbs 23:17