Reading for Today: Proverb Chapter 17

Gold Nugget
Verse 13: “Whoever rewards evil for good, evil will not depart from his house.”

Raising children, I've found that rewarding evil can be done without intent or effort. When my children were small, I tried to make sure that the cost of bad behavior was more than they wanted to pay. Children will naturally weigh the cost of misbehaving. If you only discipline a child 1 out of every 4 times when they try to touch the “untouchables”, they will naturally play the odds and continue touching. Having even a chance that they may not pay the price for their actions, they will naturally conclude that it’s worth the risk. I will go even further, knowing with experience, that they will even continue this behavior if the parent disciplines 3 out of 4 times. Just the presence of “chance” will keep the child in bad behavior knowing that this may be the time they aren't disciplined. Only 4 out of 4 times will teach the child that there isn't any hope of getting away with this and they know with confidence that their attempts are futile. Children do not have time to waste on these fruitless efforts and will quickly move on to other options and hopefully other lessons learned. The reality is, the times that they successfully touched the untouchables without discipline, they were rewarded. Their reward was a free pass on bad behavior due to an oversight or overlook. This actually encourages more bad behavior. So as a summary thus far, we conclude that overlooking sin/evil is often equivalent to rewarding evil. That is to say, in those that we have influence over, anyway. Today’s “gold nugget” tells us that, “Whoever rewards evil for good, evil will not depart from his house.” Not only do we tend to overlook sin in people’s lives that we can or should have influence in, we will actually encourage them to continue in it with our silence. We then become “enablers”. Consider the friend that lives in your home with you and goes off to spend the weekend with their boyfriend/girlfriend while you go off to church on Sundays. You give them a free pass on immoral behavior by not confronting them (1st reward) and give them a place to stay (2nd reward). It’s not easy, but a Christian sometimes must “boycott” sinful or evil people. There is a line between showing people love just the way they are and turning a blind eye to sin. It easier to avoid the issue than it is to learn wisdom and therefore know when it is appropriate to oppose and even avoid the company of certain people. It isn't popular today, but if we got back to the foundational teachings of the bible, we would find that we are accountable to God for instructing and proclaiming the truth of His Word. Failing to do so and remaining ‘friends” with the world is, “rewarding evil for good”, and will ensure “evil will not depart from your house”.

Lord, in today’s age where people are not to speak out against other's actions, it’s difficult to take a stand against immoral deeds. Help us to be bold enough to stand for your Word and your expectations regardless of its popularity and the persecution it may bring against us. Amen

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