Proverbs 11:12

Proverbs 11:12 "He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour: but a man of understanding holdeth his peace."
Proverbs 11:12 Buffalo Baptist Church NY
The human heart hates with ease.

Hate is native to the soil in man’s heart.  Where love has to be planted, watered and nurtured to grow in man’s heart, hate is like a weed that grows without planting, watering or nurturing.  If a driver cuts us off on the way to work, we so easily despise them.  If a panelist on a news program promotes politics that we don’t agree with, we so easily despise them.  If a person gives our social media post a thumb’s down or a negative comment, we so easily despise them.  If our parents tell us to do something we don’t want to do, we so easily despise them.  If our children disobey us, we so easily despise them.  If our spouse criticizes or disrespects us, we so easily despise them.  If our friends don’t support us, we so easily despise them.  If our employers don’t appreciate us, we so easily despise them.

Sadly, this is human nature.  We can deny how easily we hate one another and we can soften the sound of it by calling it, “getting upset” or “being annoyed” or “just struggling” but if we were really honest with ourselves, it is hatred that so easily rises in our hearts.  Eyes, more than mouths, communicate hatred.  The eyes are indeed the window to the soul and the eyes of men and women in society reveal a great deal of hatred for one another.  Hatred can’t be hidden when peering into the eyes of a person who hates.  You know you’re hated by how someone looks at you which is why we say, “if looks could kill.”  Hatred is visible on the roads, in the classrooms, in our homes, in the courtrooms and in even in our churches.

We too easily despise our neighbor and this is tragic because it is sinful (Proverbs 14:21).  This is one more reason why wisdom is the principal thing in our lives (Proverbs 4:7).  Without wisdom, we do what comes so easy.  Without wisdom, we do what comes so natural.  This is why little children so easily despise their little neighbor.  Little children lack wisdom and understanding and as a result, allow hatred to rise in their heart over a wooden block or a stuffed animal.  They don’t have enough sense to put things in perspective.  They don’t enough understanding to see what is important and what is not important.  Little children will even lash out in hatred at their parents when they don’t get what they want simply because they don’t understand why their parent would deny them of their demands.
 
The Bible uses the phrase, “hold your peace” when you choose not to say anything or more importantly, not to condemn something.  This phrase essentially means to hang on to your peace or to refuse to let your peace go.  That doesn’t mean you have to love a situation.  That doesn’t mean you have to enthusiastically support a person.  It simply means that you refuse to lose your peace and become emotionally compromised over a situation.  This proverb reveals how we hold our peace when our neighbor does something that we don’t like.  This proverb reveals THE LEASH FOR OUR PEACE as that great virtue, UNDERSTANDING.

Understanding is what keeps hatred from so easily rising in our hearts.  Understanding, or wisdom is the key to controlling how we respond to the actions, words and behavior of our neighbors.  We mistakenly believe that a bad feeling towards people is the result of a lack of self-control when the Bible teaches that it is the result of a lack of wisdom.  When we fail to get wisdom, we continue to hate others for ridiculous reasons as easily as we did when we were toddlers.  When we fail to get wisdom, we continue to despise others quickly and easily because we don’t understand why people do what they do.  Understanding is that virtue that helps us see why people say what they say and why they do what they do.  It gives us a better perspective and fuller picture.  Understanding engages the mind well before the emotions.  Understanding initiates an investigation before any condemnation.  Understanding looks into a person’s past and considers a person’s pain.  Understanding studies a person’s personality and a person’s spirituality.  By doing these things, understanding keeps the internal jury from deliberating and thus, keeps the peace within the soul.

The heart that despises its neighbor is a heart void of virtue of understanding.  Without understanding, we will act just like toddlers.  Without understanding, we will despise our neighbors for having bigger houses or better cars.  Without understanding, we will despise our friends for playing with our other friends.   Without understanding, we will despise the person who doesn’t approve our plans.   Without understanding, we will despise the person who doesn’t think like we think or act like we act.   Without understanding, we will despise the person who doesn’t see the world the way we see the world.  Furthermore, without understanding, we will despise the person who doesn’t treat us like we expect to be treated.  Without understanding, we will despise the person who doesn’t love us or who isn’t kind to us.  Understanding does more than help us understand why someone is different; it helps us understand why someone is flawed.  Understanding tempers us because it helps us see the universal brokenness of humanity.  Understanding prevents hatred because it reminds us that we shouldn’t expect someone to be what we ourselves can’t be.
 
Emotions are hard to control and our peace is hard to contain, especially when someone wrongs us or challenges us.  It isn’t self-control that helps us “hold our peace” – it is the virtue of understanding.  Are you sick of entertaining hatred in your heart for others?  Are you sick of so easily despising your spouse or your child or your parent or your sibling?  Are you tired of having to weed hatred out of your heart?  Get wisdom and with all your getting, get understanding.  It is the leash of inner peace and it keeps you from despising people.

If you find yourself struggling with someone over something very petty, it is understanding that you need.  If you find yourself struggling with someone over something very serious, it is still understanding that you need.
 
Understanding puts ALL things in perspective and when it does so, you will always end with the same conclusion:
“Charity NEVER faileth.” (1 Corinthians 13:8)

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