Might Will Not Make Right

by Mar 21, 2024Christian living, Devotional, Happiness, Proverbs, Wisdom2 comments

“Do not envy a man of violence and do not choose any of his ways, for the devious person is an abomination to the Lord, but the upright are in his confidence.” – Proverbs 3:31-32

A school bully conjures up many feelings, but envy is not typically one of them. Why would the Bible warn us to not envy a man of violence? Are there scores of children aspiring to become mobsters and abusers? The problem is that even though the violent lifestyle is manifestly reprehensible, people keep finding their way into it.

There must be something desirable, something enviable in the life of this man of violence, or else the position would lie vacant. What is the magnetism of the warlord? It is possible, indeed it is necessary, that the man of violence evokes some type of fascination and respect, or else no one would live that way. There’s a man who always gets what he wants, an observer would say. There is someone with steely resolve, who never fails to get the job done. Career, fame, and fortune are built on such stuff.

You don’t have to be a hitman or tribal headhunter to use violence to serve your ambition. You can commit violence to someone’s name, reputation, or finances. Violence is a frame of mind before it is physical act. It is an ends-justify-the-means philosophy. You harden your heart to the pain you inflict on others in order to advance yourself.

It’s easy to envy a man (or woman) of violence because the more callous and ruthlessly selfish he is, the more likely he will achieve earthly success, at least for a time. The world will never lack dark corners filled with sharks hunting each other after the prey is gone. These sharks are admired from a safe distance as long as they stay on top of the food chain.

But God finds such behavior despicable and will never bless it. The violent man is like a dragon sleeping on his horde of treasure—never able to use it, and never happy about it. His only happiness comes through exerting violence, and that in diminishing returns.

Jesus rejected the strategy of violence (Mt 26:52-56). Instead, he triumphed through absorbing our violence and selfishness. He came into our world of insatiable predators and showed us his power by giving it up. He received violence, scheming, and injustice, and returned it with love, mercy, and sacrifice. As a result, he stands in God’s confidence, at his right hand, in happiness and glory.

Don’t get lured into wistfully watching the reckless narcissist, whose success is built on a stairway of corpses. God does not smile on him. “Commit your way to the Lord, and He will act (Ps 37:5).” Think about Jesus’ sacrifice for you. He has brought you to the highest imaginable status—enjoying the confidence of the Lord. God entrusts you with his name, reputation, and hidden treasures of wisdom. Yours is the enviable position.

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2 Comments

  1. Marty Sudac

    “Violence is a frame of mind before it is physical act. It is an ends-justify-the-means philosophy. You harden your heart to the pain you inflict on others in order to advance yourself.”

    So well said Justin! I’m always delighted to receive a new post from you. May you, your family and your flock have a joyful and most blessed Resurrection Sunday!

    Reply
    • Justin Poythress

      Thanks, Marty. Grateful for the reminder this week of Jesus absorbing the violence we deserve.

      Reply

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