Proverbs 12:8

Proverbs 12:8 "A man shall be commended according to his wisdom: but he that is of a perverse heart shall be despised."
Proverbs 12:8 Baptist Church Buffalo NY
Whether a person admits it or not, everyone wants to be commended.  As soon as a child can recognize praise, he seeks it.  Cute little voices of “Look at me Daddy!” and “Watch this Mommy!” echo throughout the halls of homes all over our world.  This is especially evident when a parent or grandparent applauses one child and the other child cries out, “What about me!?”  Unfortunately, this yearning for commendation continues into adulthood.  Wives and mothers seek appreciation for their contributions to the home from both husband and children and when it’s not given, there is great disappointment.  Husbands and fathers seek praise for their hard work from both wife and children and when it is absent, there is often great anger.  The human spirit feeds on affirmation and when it doesn’t get it, it can easily be deflated.  Workers leave companies for lack of commendation.  Players leave teams for lack of appreciation.  Ministers leave churches for lack of recognition.  Friends leave relationships for lack of acclamation.

It is both appropriate and helpful to get in the habit of commending people.  Later in the Book of Proverbs, Solomon would write, “Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips” (27:2).  While Scripture clearly teaches in this proverb and in many other places that we shouldn’t seek commendation, it recognizes that praise is a part of the human social system.  All people desire it; many give it; some deserve it.  In this eighth proverb in the twelfth chapter, Solomon would have his readers understand the basis for praise, or the CALCULATOR for COMMENDATION.  It’s not what we naturally think it is.  Most people think commendation is based on performance when in reality, it’s based on personality.  Most people think commendation it’s based on contribution when it’s based on character.
 
True commendation is more than just a clap of the hands - it’s praise for one person to another person.  In fact, there is no greater praise than the praise given to another on your behalf.  True commendation is giving praise to another person when they’re not even around to hear it because it eliminates the temptation to praise a person in order to benefit from that person.  The word, “commend,” is a transfer or commitment of something to someone.  On the cross, Jesus cried to God, “Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46).  To the Romans, Paul wrote, “I commend unto you Phebe our sister” (Romans 16:1).  Scripture speaks of this word in the context of praise this way with Sarah in Genesis 12:15, “The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh.”   This is where we get the word, “RE-COMMEND.”  True commendation is more than face-to-face affirmation; it’s publicly-communicated praise for another person. It’s one thing to applause the contractor for building your house but it’s an entirely different thing to suggest him to a friend as a potential husband.  Commendation has to do with character.  This is why Solomon tells us that commendation is based on our wisdom, not on our works.

This proverb is not what life should be like – it is what life is.  This proverb isn’t suggesting the ideal basis for commendation – it is telling us what people base their commendation on.  Men, have you noticed that women rarely commend you for working hard on the job site, for fixing the home or for repairing the vehicle?  Ladies, have you noticed that men rarely commend you for taking such good care of the home or for working outside the home?  We don’t calculate commendation by works – we calculate commendation by wisdom.  Ladies boast on their husbands if they are wise, which is evident in HOW they act, not just in WHAT they do for a living or for the household.  Men boast on their wives if they are wise, which is manifested in HOW they treat people, not just in WHAT they do in or out of the home.
 
A man shall be commended according to his wisdom and not according to his works.
A woman shall be commended according to her wisdom and not according to her works.
A boy shall be commended according to his wisdom and not according to his works.
A girl shall be commended according to her wisdom and not according to her works.
                             
The most beloved people in human history are not those who have made the greatest contributions to farming, building, inventing, discovering and entertaining.  The most beloved people in human history are those who behaved themselves wisely because those are the people who knew how to work with others and because they knew how to make things work with others.  There is a substantial difference between being the most decorated and being the most commendable.  Having the most Super Bowl Rings, Emmies, Grammies or votes rarely transfers to being the most commendable.  Time and time again, these perceived praise-worthy people prove to be the least likable and the least commendable.  Abuse, neglect, corruption and perversion steal all the praise from a decorated champion.  At the end of the day, we don’t commend a man according to his accomplishments – we commend a man according to his character.  At the end of a life, we don’t commend a woman according to his achievements – we commend a woman according to her virtue.  A man with a perverted heart will be despised, no matter what he accomplished.  A woman with a perverted heart will be loathed, no matter what she achieved.

On an incredibly practical level, this proverb has the power to change lives and relationships.  To the husband who is bitter that his wife never seems to appreciate how hard he works to bring home the bacon, Solomon tells you to stop blaming your wife for your bitterness.  If you were wise in how you manage your time, you would give much of it to your God, wife and family.  If you were wise in how you manage your money, you would give much of it to your God, wife and family.  If you were wise, you would have answers for life’s problems, direction for life’s challenges and the skills to lead your home.  A man is commended according to his wisdom, not according to his resume or to his wages.  Your wife would commend you to others if she saw more wisdom in you.  To the wife who resents her husband for not recognizing her sacrifices within and without the home, Solomon tells you to consider the Calculator for Commendation.  There is no wisdom in treating immediate family members poorly.  There is no wisdom in constantly criticizing extended family members.  There is no wisdom in putting your children before your husband.  A woman is commended according to her wisdom, not according to her works or to her sacrifices.  To the son or daughter who is angry with your mom or dad for not applauding you for taking out the garbage or for not doing drugs, Solomon tells you to understand what it is that makes a child commendable – it is character.  If you obey your parents grudgingly or if you obey your parents slowly, there is nothing for them to commend.  A child is commended according to his wisdom, not according to his accomplishments.  The same Biblical fact applies to a career, to a ministry and to a relationship.

This proverb teaches us that we Calculate Commendation by what is in the heart.  If there is a lot of wisdom in the heart, there will be a high level of commendation for that person.  If there is a little wisdom in the heart, there will be a low level of commendation for that person.  If there is no wisdom in the heart, society will eventually despise that soul.  No wisdom in the heart makes room for perversion in the heart, which always hurts people.  If you want people to commend and recommend you, get wisdom.  Frankly, if you want people to like you, get wisdom.  Wisdom alone makes a person commendable.

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