Proverbs 24: Discerning Right and Wrong
Proverbs 24 is interesting on a few levels. I want to focus on a few verses near the end though.
Pro 24:24 He that saith unto the wicked, Thou art righteous; him shall the people curse, nations shall abhor him:
Pro 24:25 But to them that rebuke him shall be delight, and a good blessing shall come upon them.
There are a few things going on here. On one hand, the one who calls the wicked man righteous is being dishonest. Perhaps he doesn’t know any better, but the people did not appreciate that he either is denying or not perceptive enough to recognize the wickedness of the other man.
I think that is the first lesson there. I think that we need to make sure that we aren’t too fast to judge. Generally, you think about it in the other direction. We tend to be excited about condemning people. However, it can work in the other way as well. We can be so anxious to say that someone is right that we actually don’t take time for discernment.
The discernment brings up the remainder of the first verse and the second verse. People appreciate discernment. I know that sometimes we get so tied up and not offending anybody that we don’t want to take a stand on anything. However, this verse seems to be advising us in the opposite direction. If we see something wrong, we need to take action to prevent it or at least deter it.
Here is a very drastic scenario that might help. What would you say if I said that Adolf Hitler was a righteous man? You would rightfully be very upset at me. Why would you be mad at me? You would be upset because I obviously have no sense of right or wrong.
Now, if I said that Adolf Hitler committed atrocious crimes and was truly a reprehensible human being, you would be more likely to agree with me. Why? I would be taking a moral position again something that is wrong. I am calling the wicked wicked.
I used a drastic example, but I think that you can see how this applies. We are not called to immediately take a neutral position on all moral issues. Rather, we are called to discern.