Gaining by Violence?

“…they lie in wait for their own blood; they ambush their own lives.  So are the ways of everyone who gains by violence; It takes away the life of its possessors.” (Prov 1:18-19)

I think Solomon meant this quite literally.  If you participate in murder, you will pay a huge price.  But Jesus teaches that murder begins in the heart.  If you say “raca” to your brother, you are guilty, according to our Lord.  I think there is a more general principle here that applies to everyone.

Whatever I have gained through harsh, prideful, and violent attitudes and actions, in the end poisons my own heart.  It takes away my life little by little.

James tells us that, “The anger of man does not bring about the righteious life that God desires.”  Here we have a similar thought.  Whatever I have accomplished through anger cannot be said to be of God. 

By acting rudely I might coerce you into submitting to my desires.  But I lose in the end.  By manipulating and controlling others I might insure that they go along with my agenda.  But it poisons my own soul.  I die a little each time.  Things accomplished through the motivation of resentment or jealousy will end up costing more than I can afford.

Jesus asked, “What good is it to gain the whole world but lose your soul?” (Luke 9:25)  That which is gained by anger is a curse to your soul.  If I get people to conform to my will by open or subtle manipulations of anger, I have not truly gained anything.  I am actually losing my soul in the process.  This applies to all of our relationships, whether it be home, family, business, or church.  And Solomon said that it applied to “everyone who gains by violence…”

God help us all to embrace the rule and control of the Prince of Peace.  His righteous rule increases with peace.  This is God’s kind of gain.  When God is in control there is peace not violence.  When God is persuading people to follow Him, there is peace not violence. 

There will be no end to the increase of His government, or of peace. (Isa 9:7) 

As I go about my day today let the measure of God’s peace in my attitudes and actions serve as the real standard of accomplishment.  Amen.

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