The Bible is full of contrasts: good and evil, light and darkness, right and wrong, and life and death, to name a few. The book of Proverbs highlights some specific contrasts in character and personality traits that serve as helpful eye-openers into the frailties and strengths of our humanness, complicated as it is sometimes. Four such contrasts are listed below, and if we’re honest, most of us swing back and forth between the extremes of each described by Solomon.
The first contrast is in Proverbs 15:15 (NLT): For the despondent, every day brings trouble; for the happy heart, life is a continual feast. “Despondent” means miserable, gloomy, down-in-the-mouth. These are the Eeyores of the world, and every day is miserable for them. In contrast, the happy-hearted people fill the day with song, as the Message translation reads. Which one am I today—a donkey or a songbird? The choice is mine to make.
Another contrast is Proverbs 15:18 (NLT): A hot-tempered person starts fights; a cool-tempered person stops them. ‘Nuf said. So, which one am I today—a starter or a stopper?
A third character contrast is found in Proverbs 15:14 (NLT): A wise person is hungry for knowledge, while the fool feeds on trash. Our speech indicates whether we’re feeding on wholesome material that builds us up or munching on the enemy’s garbage in reading material, TV viewing, social media, etc. Which one am I hungry for today—knowledge or trash? (I guess that depends on whether I’m an Eeyore or a songbird.)
Proverbs 12:8 (NLT) says a sensible person wins admiration, but a warped mind is despised. The Message translation gives it a bit more contemporary spin: A person who talks sense is honored; airheads are held in contempt. Which one am I today—a sensible person or an airhead?
In sliding back and forth within these four contrasts depending on our mood, daily circumstances, faith and commitment to the Lord, etc., we do well to remember the great love and grace our Father has toward us. No matter which one we are today—Eeyore or happy songbird, fighter or peacemaker, truth-seeker or trash eater, sensible person or airhead—God’s great love and grace are extended to us, for to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it (Ephesians 4:7 NIV).
© 2023, Chris Werre