My wife and I have taught in schools. She has almost only ever taught Kindergarten (about 4 months of not in eight years), and I taught 7th Grade Mathematics and further back in Special Education.
I tell you what, working with a lot of kids can teach a lot about life! Especially how cruel and mean people can be.
A recent movement in the past few years is called “Be Kind”. The name is pretty self explanatory, and they do some good work helping teach students to simply be nice to each other.
Proverbs chapter 12 can be summarized this same way: Be Kind.
Think about it: it starts with advice for controlling yourself (discipline, vv. 1-4), transitions through recognizing it starts with our thoughts (vv. 5-8), moves to our actions toward others (including animals! vv. 9-12), and the majority focuses on what we say (vv. 13-26).
Words probably get the most time because of how much we tear each other down with our words. Sometimes it is unintentional.
But we must remember that kindness starts internally, with our thoughts and beliefs. So, to be kind means we start by changing our thinking, and ultimately it happens by trusting in God.
He first showed His kindness by coming to us lowly sinners to reveal truth and die for our forgiveness. The ultimate kindness is leading others to life in Christ.
The path of the righteous is life, and in its pathway there is no death.
Why should you be intoxicated, my son, with a forbidden woman and embrace the bosom of an adulteress? For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the Lord , and he ponders all his paths. The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him, and he is held fast in the cords of his sin.
Proverbs 5:20-22, ESV
This passage reminds us of three things:
- Sex is supposed to be reserved for marriage (yes, one man and one woman);
- God knows and judges even our thoughts;
- Sin is pernicious, touching every area of life and holding on fast.
Firstly, think about society today, throughout most of the world, and how fixated are on sex. The more we stray from God, the more we seem to crave and then celebrate sin. Just look at the variety of “gay pride” parades and festivals, websites for “personal pleasure” and even affairs, and the use of sex in advertising and popular entertainment.
Secondly, we tend to live either as atheists or as though God is not omniscient nor hates sin. How? In the way we think, convincing ourselves that “it’s okay to look” and “no one else is getting hurt.” Yet, Jesus reminds us that lust is adultery (Matthew 5:28) and that God even judges our thoughts.
And finally, those songs and thoughts do affect everything else, especially the more one dwells on and/or lives out sins. Ask the adulterer or the couple whose marriage fell apart who started by “only looking at porn.” Look at how many people are defined by who they are attracted to or what they look like on the outside. And remember: the urge to look does not go away just because you “put a ring on it.” Lust becomes a habit.
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 1:13 ESV