How Will I Treat Others Today?
17 When you’re kind to others, you help yourself;
when you’re cruel to others, you hurt yourself.
We are ultimately affected by our actions/reactions to others. If we are kind and forgiving, we feel good in our soul. If we are cruel to others, it really hurts us because it is behavior that is in direct contrast to how we as Christians have been treated by Jesus.
I love reading Proverbs. They tell us the way God wants us to live through seemingly straight forward dos and don’ts. Verse 17 is no different. It is a simple concept that says be kind to others and help yourself; be mean to others and you hurt yourself.
I taught young children for 30 years. “Be kind” is a lesson I taught on an ongoing basis. I’m not sure I was clear on the why to be kind except for the fact it fit with the Golden Rule-“Treat others like you want to be treated.” The second part of this proverb says when you are mean to others you really hurt yourself. Young children are notorious for telling on each other. I was always thankful for this because who could keep up with 27 students if not for the “neighborhood watch system.” When the “meanie” was discovered, there would be a fact gathering, apology, and plan for next time discussed. Only time would tell if this process would bring about change. You can be sure six year olds can process if this is a one-time occurrence or a pattern of behavior. They will call each other out and each child’s reputation is at stake.
On a deeper level only God is truly kind. I am a selfish, egocentric person and only when I have my eyes laser-focused on Jesus can I show kindness. This truth is obtainable for me if I run after Jesus and try to be as much like Him as possible. The second part of the proverb says when we are cruel, we really hurt ourselves. When I accepted Christ as my savior in 1974 He gave me the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I ruin my witness or hurt myself when I react to others in a cruel way; so I am really hurting myself.
Jesus showed me complete forgiveness on the cross. Since I have accepted this gift, it is my obligation to share His grace with those around me. If I am mean, cruel or react in anyway other than the way Jesus would react, I am hurting myself because I am not acting like a child of God. I am breaking a relationship with that person, more importantly, I am breaking my relationship with Christ.
“God, help me see others the way You see them.Help me to show kindness and grace so others will know that I have experienced and accepted your grace.”
Questions To Ponder
What does this verse say about those who are kind or cruel?
How does being kind to others benefit the one who is kind?
How can cruelty ultimately harm the one who is cruel?
Scripture Memory | January | Proverbs 17:9
“Whoever would foster love covers over an offense,
but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.”