Together in Christ: 'Living as Upright Citizens' — Proverbs 11:11-12

Monday, January 22, 2024

Upright citizens are good for a city and make it prosper, but the talk of the wicked tears it apart. It is foolish to belittle one's neighbor; a sensible person keeps quiet.

— Proverbs 11:11-12 NLT

Key Thought

I don't know about you, but I am amazed at how often my personal Bible study leads me to scriptures that speak directly to the mess of our present world. The "talk of the wicked" and the foolish belittling of our neighbors are tearing us apart. Today's two verses of God's wisdom shared thousands of years ago speak directly into our divided and deeply fractured world.

Knowing that the messes we find ourselves in today are not new or different from most of history is comforting to me. However, my great comfort is that God has given us principles to help us display His righteous character, gracious compassion, and unfailing love to others through our words and actions. We choose to avoid wicked talk and those who talk about wicked things. In addition, we are learning to keep quiet rather than belittling our neighbors, even when we strongly disagree with them.

The approach God gives us in these verses doesn't mean that we sit quietly by and ignore evil. It does mean that we choose not to belittle people, our neighbors whom God has commanded us to love. [1] We may disagree about ideas, but we must be wise and helpful, not belittling and hurtful, when we do. In a world where some people scream to have the last word in every discussion, let's make sure we demonstrate a Christ-like character, along with an unwillingness to say and do the things we hate for others to do and say to us. Why is this important?

  • God's wisdom has urged us to use this approach, so this is definitely the wise course of action.
  • Our job as Jesus' followers is not to have the last word that slams others into submission to our arguments, but to have the opportunity to share our hope in the redeeming work of Jesus with others "in a gentle and respectful way." [2]

Let's be upright citizens of God's family and of our world, as well!

[1] Matthew 22:36-40.
[2] 1 Peter 3:13-16, 1:9-10; Matthew 28:18-20.

Today's Prayer

Almighty, holy, and gracious Father, please give me the wisdom to be more like Jesus in how I treat people. I need the Holy Spirit to give me wisdom on when I need to speak up for your truth and when I need to be silent. I confess, dear Father, that I often want to win arguments and I forget about my responsibility to win hearts to the story of Jesus. Dear God, I trust that You are transforming me by the power of the Holy Spirit to be more like Jesus [A] as I obey Your wise words we read today. In Jesus' mighty name, I ask You for this grace. Amen.

[A] 2 Corinthians 3:17-18; Galatians 5:16-23.

Related Scripture Readings

  • 1 Peter 2:11-17
  • 2 Corinthians 12:19-21

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Illustration

Illustration of Proverbs 11:11-12 NLT — Upright citizens are good for a city and make it prosper, but the talk of the wicked tears it apart. It is foolish to belittle one's neighbor; a sensible person keeps quiet.

About This Devotional

Together in Christ is a daily devotional that focuses on what Scripture teaches about godly living in relationships.

'Together in Christ' is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.