Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time in the book of Proverbs. This meaty book is relevant for every person on the planet. It is packed full of so much wisdom that you need to digest it in very small portions. I’m also reading it in different versions and translations. I find this helps to amplify my understanding and broaden my perspective.
At first glance, some of these proverbs seem like such everyday common sense that it’s easy to dismiss the obvious. Sometimes we miss recognizing that many principles of our western democracy are rooted in this very book. Over the centuries, we have ingrained much of this into our everyday culture.
Here’s an obvious one: Proverbs 14:5
“A faithful witness does not lie, But a false witness will utter lies.”
Although this wise principle may be appreciated by most, you might be surprised to learn that it may not be honored by all. In fact, you may know someone who thinks it’s ok to tell lies if it’s to their personal or family benefit.
Here’s another one: Proverbs 13:11
“Wealth gained by dishonesty will be diminished, But he who gathers by labor will increase.”
Unfortunately, we probably all know people who try to get rich quick through dishonest means. But again, in some cultures, getting rich by any means is admired.
Other people’s morals are not necessarily the same as ours. Not everyone has grown up in the same culture or environment that we have. Generally, we accept our Judaic-Christian heritage as normal and assume everyone else thinks the same. But often that just isn’t the case. This is where the book of Proverbs can help someone gain clarity in how to conduct their life and become a better person.
At the other end of the spectrum, those who embrace our western values often live the Christian culture in their everyday lives without accepting Jesus and the Christian faith into their personal lives. When people say they don’t need Jesus because “they’re good enough already” it may be because they see themselves as following all the rules sufficiently.
Why do they still need a Savior? Why do we?
Living to Christian cultural standards does not provide hope for tomorrow or strength for today or even purpose for living. It also does not erase the fear of death, nor does it guarantee eternal salvation. Only the one true God does that, through Jesus Christ.
As stated so eloquently by the Apostle Paul:
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)
“There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10)
So the next time your unsaved friend dismisses Christianity as just another religion, try picking out a few obvious Proverbs to show them that their values of good living and democracy can be traced right back to the original Judaic-Christian principles. Maybe it will start a conversation that will help open their minds to a new way of living.