(Prov 24:8,9 GNB) If you are always planning evil, you will earn a reputation as a troublemaker. Any scheme a fool thinks up is sinful. People hate a person who has nothing but scorn for others.
Gleanings from the Proverbs. Solomon warns against associating with the wrong people. Too much exposure to evil will poison your soul, and the people Solomon describes here are unquestionably evil. Even worse than doing evil, these people devise it. They spend good time on bad thoughts, plots, and schemes. The Message Bible paraphrase of this verse reads: “The person who’s always cooking up some evil soon gets a reputation as prince of rogues. Fools incubate sin; cynics desecrate beauty.” The word that sticks out there for me is “incubate.” These people harbour, nurture, feed, and grow sin. They get some sort of twisted pleasure in disrupting the lives of others and it does not bother them at all that they have a reputation for evil.
So what does this mean to you today? I don’t see much utility in focusing on the negative aspects of what Solomon describes so I will flip-it around and seek to glean some things from doing the opposite of their actions.
1. Protect your reputation. I just had a conversation about this at work. Working in a none Christian environment as in any place can be challenging. Manoeuvring through workplace politics requires wisdom and prayer. A few misplayed steps can ruin a person’s reputation. As a believer, a good reputation is required to be a good witness, so we must protect that reputation by always seeking to do what is right, because it’s right, and then doing it right. Back in chapter 22 Solomon said, “A good name is more to be desired than great wealth, and to be respected is better than silver and gold” (v.1). Parents personify this verse. To this day their name is worth more than silver and gold. My prayer is that you and I maintain a good name, because a good name can be an avenue for favour and favour can do more in a moment than labour can do in a lifetime.
2. Focus your mind on Godly and positive things. Instead of incubating sin, why not spend your time incubating Godly thoughts? Paul said, “You’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse” (Phil 4:8). Don’t waste good time on bad thoughts. Spend your time thinking about things that will build up, not tear down that will be a blessing, and not a curse.
3. Make every attempt to be a blessing to others. Instead of focusing on ways to disrupt, disturb, and destroy others, spend your time being a blessing. The reason you need to focus on Godly and positive things is because your thoughts produce your actions. So if you think on the right things, you will wind up acting in ways that are pleasing to God. Listen, the people you deal with every day may never go to your church, but they will surely observe your actions. What message is your life portraying? Is it saying, God loves you? If not, it’s time to make some changes.