Character Studies in Proverbs : Lesson #8 What People of Bad Character Have
In the previous lesson we saw some things that a person of good character would have. This lesson will deal with things that a person of bad character would have. Many times we hear people say that others have no character and what is being referred to is usually that they have bad character instead of good character. As an individual you will have one or the other, either good or bad and the intent of this study is to help you build good character to replace bad or no character. This is the reason for this study in Proverbs because this book if taken seriously and put into practice will definitely build some good character in anyone.
The verses we are studying do not say exactly that a person with bad character will have these things but instead they tell us that we should not do the things listed in these verses. Therefore if we are going to have good character we are going to have to obey these verses. And when people do not obey these verses then we will see the bad character traits in them or even in ourselves if we do not obey these verses.
In the passage before us we will look at 4 things that will be in the life of a person with bad character, and we will also see 3 things that are the result of having bad character.
Things in the lives of people with bad character :
1) They will devise evil against their neighbor. (Verse 29)
The verse says to not devise evil against thy neighbor. Many times kids do this in various ways like doing mischief or playing pranks on their neighbors. Many times adults also devise evil against their neighbor over silly little disputes or disagreements. There are some neighbors who will not even speak to each other.
Now if you are wondering who your neighbor is look at the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:30-37. There Jesus defines just who is our neighbor really is.
Let us note some verses on devising evil :
- Proverbs 6:16-18 (Here are 7 things that God hates and note how many of them are associated with devising or doing evil)
- Proverbs 2:14 (Here we see that some delight in doing evil. This is one who has very bad character and should be avoided by those seeking to have good character.)
- Proverbs 17:11 (This verse tells us that an evil man seeketh only rebellion. When you see someone who is constantly in rebellion that is a character issue and you should avoid them.)
- Proverbs 26:18-19 (Those who are pranksters should read these verses)
2) They will have strife continually (Verse 30)
Now there are some people who are not happy unless they are arguing or fighting with someone. The verse says strive not with a man without a cause. Sometimes strife cannot be avoided but what we are talking about as a bad character trait would be someone who does it continually and without cause.
Proverbs 26:17 is a good commentary on this thought. It says that someone who meddles with strife that doesn’t belong to them is like one who takes a dog by the ears. The thought here is the dog may not be able to bite you if you have him by the ears but the problem is once you let go you are going to get bit. The same is true with strife that does not concern you. Once you get a hold of it you cannot let go without getting bit.
Proverbs 26:20 tells us that where there is no talebearer the strife ceaseth. Therefore if we could learn to keep our mouths closed then there would be a lot less strife.
3) They will have Envy (Verse 31)
The verse tells us to not envy the oppressor and to not choose any of his ways. Envy is a hard thing because it affects everyone. That is why Proverbs 27:4 says who is able to stand before envy.
One of the main problems with envy is that 9 times out of 10 we envy the wrong thing. Once we start envying the wrong person or his possessions then we will automatically choose his ways because we think it will get us what he has.
Envy is the result of strife sometimes and in 1 Timothy 6:1-4 we see characteristics of someone who is full of envy.
4) They will be Froward (Verse 32)
One of the definitions of forward is perverseness, disobedience, or refusal to comply with rules and authority. Notice that this is said to be an abomination unto the Lord. We have to be very careful with this because to some extent we all have a problem with authority from time to time. It is human nature and it comes from Adam. That is why we have to teach kids to do right and we do not have to teach them to do wrong it is just built in.
We must watch out for this in our own lives and also in the lives of the people we associate ourselves with because their bad character can become our own. Remember the real issue with perverseness, disobedience, or authority is really a heart issue. (Proverbs 11:20)
The results of having bad character :
Before we list the 3 results of having bad character we should refresh our memory concerning what the Bible says in regards to sowing and reaping. In Galatians 6:7-8 we see that whatever you sow you will reap and remember just like planting you always reap more than you have sown.
1) The curse of the Lord may be upon their house (Verse 33)
Notice the contrast here between the house of the wicked and the habitation of the just. One has the curse of the Lord and the other has the blessing of God. We can take some spiritual application form what God says in Deuteronomy 27:5-26 in regards to some things that can bring the curse of the Lord upon us. I realize we are not under the Law anymore that is why I said that we can take some spiritual application from the passage.
I don’t know about you but I would much rather have the blessing of God than the curse of the Lord upon my house.
2) They are scorned by God (Verse 34)
This verse says that God will scorn the scorners. A scorner is definitely one that has bad character and if you think being scorned by man is rough, it will not hold a candle to what the scorning from God will be like. (Proverbs 19:29)
3) They will have shame (Verse 35)
The verse says that shame shall be the promotion of fools. That is interesting wording to me because it is like saying that they will get a greater and higher shame than what they had before. There is nothing like the feeling of being ashamed and no one enjoys it so just imagine getting it multiplied over and over again.
We need to build some character in our lives and sometimes this is done by watching out for the things covered in this lesson and recognizing them in our lives when they are there and getting them out so that we do not face the results that we have just seen.
Character Studies in Proverbs : Lesson #8 What People of Bad Character Have (Proverbs 3:29-35)
Below are 4 things that will be in the life of a person who does not have any good character. Give cross references for each one and also notes for each one.
1) They Devise Evil (vs 29)
2) Strife (vs 30)
3) Envy (vs 31)
4) Frowardness (vs 32)
What are the 3 results of having bad character in our lives?