November 17, Proverbs 11:17

Proverbs 11:17

  The merciful man doeth good to his own soul: but he that is cruel troubleth his own flesh.  (18)  The wicked worketh a deceitful work: but to him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward.”

We will have a need to understand a few words in verse 17.  We all have a general understanding of  “mercy”.  “Mercy” can mean forgiving others, it can mean giving to others who have nothing.  But in this verse, we need to understand the word’s role to the personal level.  It adds the appeal to give up the angst of forgiveness, the expectation of revenge.  It means to give forgiveness to those who do not deserve it or who should not expect it.

Then we have to understand the word flesh”.  Here it does not limit the meaning to just the “his”.  It is not the physical body, but the person’s family, tribe, or those he controls.  We have heard the phrase “flesh and blood”, we apply it to this verse.

So, our verse could read:

The man who forgives the ones who have wronged him does his own soul good: but he that is cruel troubles his own family and what should be his world.

If we look at family dynamics, we can see a range of possibilities of use in this verse.  Let us consider a mom, who may have been abused herself in one form or another.  She may still harbor resentment and may strike out at her husband and children.  She may profess she wants to be better than her parents; but she may never reach that place in her heart, if she does not have enough grace to give mercy to her own abuser.  If she has not afforded the mercy then she still carries that ill will within her soul, and it reflects on her children and then onto their children.  It may even affect her relationships at work or with extended family.

If she can receive guidance through prayer for a more graceful forgiveness she can then work toward mercy.  By having mercy for her abuser, she can bless her relationships with goodness.

Matthew 5:7


‟Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.”

Another thought that would not ease as I typed this is:  We have all seen people whom are spiteful, and it seems in our public world this type of person is on the rise and is becoming more acceptable.  These people speak kindness but do not display it with their actions nor the next words coming out of their mouth.  Even their facial expressions show a haughty expression.  They tend to recruit others that have a self pity air to themselves.  They use this self pity to say they are working to make things better for all, but the deceit is they are only concerned with taking.  These people do not show mercy.  They are working a deceitful path.  Remember the phrase, “wolves in sheep’s clothing”.

The thought, that I hope everyone thinks about or studies on, is a question to our selves:  Are we expressing mercy to everyone, in everything we do?  If we say we have forgiven, is it just lip service?  Have we given to the person who stole from us, the one who wronged us?  Are we expressing mercy for the person who is in political office that we do not agree with?  Are we praying for those who do not deserve our mercy?  Have we taken out the “me”?  Is our righteousness just a mask?

Luke 6:36

‟Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. … (vs. 38) … For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.  … (vs. 45) A good man out of the good treasure of his  heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.”

Final thoughts.

When I read these verses, the first thought that made its way in my brain was, “oh, this is a “reap what you sow verse”.  After prayer it became more personal.  I, myself, had instances in my life that became clearer; understanding that my forgiveness had no mercy in it.  The advice/answer that I asked for in prayer, for myself and the reader, came in the form of turning off the images that harbor spitefulness and anger.  And a resounding thought, while praying and as I type this, is that the more we watch and hear evil and wrong, the more it does not seem wrong.  So, the more we watch spitefulness, in turn the more we spew spitefulness.  Thus, the more we allow these in our world the more we are troubling our soul and our “flesh”.

An important thought we need to think on is:

“Today, it might seem important to feel the emotions of this world, but in our eternity how short a time span will these few years be?  Will our spitefulness be worth it?”

Proverbs 11:17

 The merciful man doeth good to his own soul: but he that is cruel troubleth his own flesh.  (18)  The wicked worketh a deceitful work: but to him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward.”

James 2:13

‟For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgement.”



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