Proverbs 11 has a number of contrasts but the major focus is the contract between righteousness and wickedness or evil. Solomon starts, however, with a warning against pride and a call for humility. “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom”. Pride is thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought. It is listening and believing our own press and PR. God alone is worthy of praise. God alone is the source of every good and perfect gift. When we begin to believe we have control over any of it, we’re on our way down.
Righteousness is one of the things that helps us stay the course. “The righteousness of the blameless keeps his way straight, but the wicked falls by his own wickedness….The righteous is delivered from trouble, and the wicked walks into it instead”. Choosing righteousness is a key to living life successfully. It keeps us on the straight and narrow. It delivers us from trouble. It frees our soul. It is a choice. Evil or wickedness does not happen to us. It is an intentional choice we make that can cause great damage.
Much of that righteousness involves relationships and how we treat others. “Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent”. Learning to keep our mouth shut is probably more important than opening it. We need to treat others wisely. And we can learn that by getting wisdom and mentoring from others more mature in their faith. “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety”. We should have many more mature believers that we get guidance from.
Solomon continues his truth about righteousness. It is a significant thing. “The wicked earns deceptive wages, but one who sows righteousness gets a sure reward. Whoever is steadfast in righteousness will live, but he who pursues evil will die”. If we live righteously, good things happen and life is good. If we don’t, and we put our faith elsewhere, bad things happen. “Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like a green leaf…the fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and whoever captures souls is wise”. Righteousness yields life. It is worth pursuing. Solomon makes that very clear in this chapter.