Blessing becomes Curse?

Proverbs 27 14 d

Q. What is the meaning of Prov 27:14 “He who blesses his friend with a loud voice early in the morning, it will be reckoned a curse to him”?

A. Blessing is a good thing, but can turn into a curse when it is done:
• with a loud voice i.e. in an inappropriate manner, &
• early in the morning i.e. at the wrong time.

The Amplified Bible expands the verse as:
He who blesses his neighbor with a loud voice early in the morning, it will be counted as a curse to him [for it will either be annoying or his purpose will be suspect].
The JFB Commentary has “excessive zeal in praising raises suspicions of selfishness.”

Both the manner and timing of a blessing, not just the content, are important. We need to watch not just what we say, but how and when we say it.

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Dealing with Insults

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Q. People around us are continually criticizing us, with words which are insulting. I don’t know whether it has to do with racial discrimination or not, but it is very difficult to bear. What should we do?

A. First, distinguish who you are dealing with. Are they scoffers or mockers? To scoff or scorn is to show contempt by insulting words or action. It combines bitterness with ridicule. The inner emotion is a sense of superiority, which outward expression is to scorn or mock. If you are dealing with a scoffer, do not descend to their level. Ignore them. Don’t give them fuel:
Prov 9:7-8 He who corrects a scoffer gets dishonor for himself, and he who reproves a wicked man gets insults for himself. Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you, reprove a wise man and he will love you.

Second, listen to what your critics are saying. Although you do not like to hear them, is there any truth in what they are criticizing you? If there is, correct those things. They are doing you a favor by pointing them out to you, although with hurtful words.

Third, discern why are they so critical? It could be racial discrimination as you surmised, which is never justified. Or they may be jealous, so they try to put you down to prop themselves up. In these cases the problem is with them, not you, so don’t worry. Or it could be because of your stand for the Lord, in which case you should rejoice and be glad, because you are considered worthy to suffer shame for Him, and your reward in heaven is great.

Mt 5:11-12 Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
• Lk 6:22-23 Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets.
• Acts 5:41 So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name.

Fourth, consider the how. Positively, learn to:
• cast all your anxiety on Him,
• be content, and
• give a blessing instead, because
o He cares for you,
o when you are weak and rely on the Lord, then you are strong because He is strong,
o we will inherit a blessing.
Negatively, never take your own revenge. Never return insult for insult. The world’s way is to retaliate, give them their due, but that’s not the way for Christians. Leave it in God’s hands. He will repay the scoffers.

Rom 12:19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord.
• 2 Co 12:10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
• 1 Pet 1:7 casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.
• 1 Pet 3:9 not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.

Hope this helps.

Overcoming Worldliness

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Q. Christians nowadays are very worldly. What is the cure for worldliness?

A. Before we get to the cure, let’s understand the disease. The word “worldly” translates the Greek word “kosmikos“, and means “having the character of this present corrupt age”. It appears 5 times in the NASB:

1 Tim 4:7 But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness;
• 1 Tim 6:20 O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called “knowledge”—
• 2 Tim 2:16 But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness,
• Titus 2:12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,
• Jude 1:19 These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit.

Note that the opposite of “worldly” is “godly”. So the cure for “worldliness” is “godliness”.

Now what does the Bible say about godliness? The word “godliness” appears 15 times in the NASB. I won’t list them all here as you can look them up in a concordance, but the relevant ideas here include:

1. Godliness has to be pursued and comes with discipline:
1 Tim 6:11 But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.
• 1 Tim 4:7 But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness;

2. It is most profitable in conjunction with contentment:
1 Tim 6:6 But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.

3. It is manifested by good works and holy conduct, not just talk:
1 Tim 2:10 but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness.
• 2 Pet 3:11 Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,

So to avoid being a worldly person, we have to aim for godliness, be content, and practice it. And what does the Bible teach about contentment? There are two levels.

1. The first is being content with what we have: our wages, our food, our clothing; and not desire what we don’t have:
Lk 3:14 Some soldiers were questioning him, saying, “And what about us, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not take money from anyone by force, or accuse anyone falsely, and be content with your wages.”
• 1 Tim 6:8 If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.
• Heb 13:5 Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,”

2. The second level goes higher, being content in whatever circumstances we are in, including difficult times, times when we are in need and suffering:
2 Co 12:10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
• Php 4:11 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.

The reason one is content under such desperate conditions is because he is totally focused on Christ, who promised He will never desert us or forsake us.

So my long answer is that to overcome worldliness we need to be centered on Christ and develop a close walk with Him. To do so is to become a godly person who has overcome the world.