"Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent....A man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself."
One of my granddaughters has two friends who are very different. Interestingly, neither of them talk a lot. But when they do speak the difference manifests itself.
One will say, "Oh, Emma, your dress is so pretty," while the other would say, "Who gave you that?"
"That recital piece is so boring. I've heard it a 100 times...but you did okay on it," would be the response of one. The other? "That was so beautiful! You did a great job!"
Which girl do you think is her best friend? Of course, the one who is kind. Now we can use all sorts of excuses for the unkind girl. Perhaps she lives in a home that belittles her. Maybe she is insecure. But it hurts the one who receives the cruel words nonetheless, and there is great need for her to learn understanding and kindness.
The effect on the person on the other side of the abuse can be devastating, particularly for a young child. Hurt feelings are often difficult to salve. But these verses also comment on the one who fails to be kind.
The person who belittles his neighbor lacks sense. One of the definitions of sense in Noah Webster's 1828 dictionary (one of my favorites) is "moral conviction." It seems to fit well here. This person lacks moral conviction. Why else would she belittle another?
Parents,teach your children to have sense!
The person who is unkind hurts herself. It often seems that the unkind person merely walks away, leaving a trail of the other person's crushed feelings in her path. As true as that may be, the person who speaks words of hurtfulness develops a reputation that will travel with her.
My encouragement to my grandchildren?
Be a person of understanding. Noah Webster defined understanding as, " Comprehending; apprehending the ideas or sense of another." Look beyond what is available to say or do, and do what is right.
If you are tempted to say something belittling or unkind, keep silent. "Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue." Proverbs 17:28
Show kindness (even to the unkind friend) and benefit yourself. I said little about the sweet little friend who is such an encouragement. This little girl benefits herself by her kindness. At her birthday party a couple of years ago she received 3 best friend necklaces from some of the girls who attended her party!
Parents, let's set the example. Kindness is always the order of the day!
As we seek to be kind to all,