“Be not overly righteous, and do not make yourself too wise. Why should you destroy yourself?” (7:16)
There is a balance to everything in life, and sometimes we need to remember not to take ourselves so seriously. Sometimes knowing everything only makes us miserable.
“Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. Your heart knows that many times you yourself have cursed others.” (7:21-22)
I once quoted this verse to my boss (who professed to be a believer so she was semi-open to Biblical rebuke). She had done something shady and was panicking, asking me to rat out every employee who was talking poorly of her. I was like, “Come on, you know you don’t want to know. You speak poorly of others, too.”
Since then, I’ve had it in mind to remind myself. Do I really want to know everything people say? No! I myself, a woman of many words, am more than guilty of spouting off careless thoughts! (Thanks, Chapter 5, BTW).
As much as a good name is valuable (7:1), we can’t always control what other people say about us, whether it be deserved or out of spite. We will only drive ourselves mad trying to be perfect. That’s where this verse becomes an excellent guiding principle:
“Though a sinner does evil a hundred times and prolongs his life, yet I know that it will be well with those who fear God, because they fear before him. But it will not be well with the wicked, neither will he prolong his days like a shadow, because he does not fear before God.” (8:12-13)
Fear God. Consider His opinion first and foremost. Seek His wisdom, His favor, His righteousness. That’s the best place to start.
Maybe today we need to surrender the worries of what people think. There is One opinion that really matters and how will we maintain rightness before Him?