Those who are kind benefit themselves, but the cruel bring ruin on themselves. (Proverbs 11:18 NIV)
When my children were young, much of their behavior was motivated by a desire for attention – whether it was positive or negative didn’t always seem to matter. Some days they chose to behave well and received our praise and occasionally a reward. Other days, they didn’t make good choices – bickering, disobeying, disrespecting, and were punished.
But as children grow, their need for our attention wanes. And bribery for good behavior, does not address the heart.
Today’s verse speaks to kindness and cruelty.
Kindness most obviously benefits the person on the receiving end. But I wonder if I’d asked my kids how they felt after extending kindness, if they would’ve developed a taste for the joy and satisfaction which inherently follow.
I encouraged my children to consider how the victims of their cruelty felt – but I can’t recall ever asking how they felt afterward. Perhaps discussions about shame, guilt, and remorse would have led to identifying our sinful disposition and need for a Savior.
The author of Proverbs tells us, obeying God’s commands results in wisdom and every good thing – understanding, prosperity, protection, honor, etc.
Let us take instruction from the Lord who created and understands the human heart.