15 He who is surety for a stranger will suffer,
But one who hates being surety is secure.
To shake hands over a binding deal to be a guarantor is a big thing to do. Twice now in Proverbs (6:1-5) we have advice to avoid such an agreement. Whether it be for a friend or work colleague, to be the fall-back for a company or it’s venture is a scary picture. Your assets might not even be enough if they folded, leaving you with a debt of epic proportions, and if that happens, they won’t bail you out. The proverb mentions the suffering you can incur from insuring a stranger. Now this isn’t advice against starting an insurance company, but one that such companies should pay heed to. To promise to support in some way a friend’s job until he can stand on his feet is a bit different to being the official guarantor of someone else’s company.
Of course we should help out our friends if they are in desperate or hard times, but we need to hold off on going all out by being surety for them.
Better to hate the idea, avoid it, and help out other ways. That’s far more secure. Read more on this on my blog post of chapter 6.
16 A gracious woman retains honor,
But ruthless men retain riches.
What is important to you in life that you would hate to lose? I believe this proverb is showing us our nature tends to guide us to what we treasure in life.
Do you love kindness and wisdom or wealth and fame?
The gracious woman here considers honour to be of high value. She lives in such a way to not lose it and so she retains it.
How would she live? Well first off, her gracious manner is part of that. She treats other people in loving and thoughtful way and gets blessed with honour.
A lot of people in this world (definitely Eastern civilisation) treat the honour that others, like family, take from you or give to you as being worth more than the family themselves. Honour killings are the despicable fallout of that.
The most worthy honour is that which people willingly give to you. You can, like the gracious woman, get and keep honour because you respond to difficult circumstances with a measure of grace. It can go hand in hand.
The ruthless have something far more petty than honour on their minds. Money, money, money, all day, everyday! They live in such a way to gain and not lose monetary wealth. The more delicate valuables, like love, grace, and wisdom, are cast aside for riches. The ruthless men have no time for “those weaklings’ morals”, and live for cold, hard cash. They live in such a way that ensures that they gather and keep monetary wealth for themselves. And they end up with their wishes, but are stuck with just that. Their ruthlessness has left them with nothing but riches.
17 The merciful man does good for his own soul,
But he who is cruel troubles his own flesh.
Can you retain the anger and bitterness from a wrong if you show mercy? It just makes sense that you will let go of all your righteous wrath at being sinned against if you choose to be merciful. Why is this good for you? You are demonstrating what has been done for you in Christ. God has the most right to be angry at the evil done in His sight, and yet has shown us mercy on behalf of His Son, Jesus. If you let go of the anger, you are freeing your soul to love instead.
The person who chooses to respond in cruel revenge is obviously not hating the sin, loving the sinner. We are so prone to choose what we want, rather than what seems to be a model set for us by God. If God is just in judging, but chooses to save us instead, surely we should let go of our hurts and victim-hood, and respond in mercy. Have you got a niggling past hurt that always comes to mind when you think of the person who perpetrated it? You are troubled in your mind about them and yourself. It poisons your thoughts. Surely you should just move on and forgive. Amen.
Thoughts or questions? Write them down in the comment section below!
Are you offended by what I write, or because of God’s Word?
If it’s because of my writing, I’m sorry. I can be harsh when talking about truth and lies. Hopefully you realise I am trying to be loving as well. I can’t apologise for God’s Word, though. Hopefully you are convicted and call on Christ to be your Saviour and King. Cheers.
Note: All scripture is taken from Bible Gateway and is the New King James Version. I am using a commentary by John Kitchen for help with difficult concepts and words.