As we move ahead in the Proverbs, we look at our associates. The author tells us that wisdom will protect us from wicked men. It then provides examples for how to recognize them.
Proverbs 2:12: “Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse”
Knowing What To Avoid is Key
This Proverb and the next section say that we will be protected from wicked men and adulterous women. Within the descriptions of these types of people are some bits of wisdom. We have already been warned to avoid those with evil intent, and now we are provided a method for doing so. The text moves from abstract to some specifics we can examine.
There are three signs of wicked men listed. These are signs to help us avoid these types of people. They have perverse words, delight in doing wrong, and are devious in their ways. We learned earlier that we should avoid associating with these people. When we hang out in these groups, we become known for these friends and often share their fate.
One may say that it is hard to know whether our friends and associates are “good” or “wicked.” However, we now have some easy ways to measure it. Perverse words can appear in bad jokes, mean-spirited remarks about others, and anything that would not do well in mixed company. We may laugh off these sort of words, but it is not wise to do so.
Delight in Doing Wrong and Devious Ways
We may not consider this to be a common trait. Who delights in doing wrong? This attitude is not uncommon at all. Think about the people you have met that brag about how they have escaped punishment for things like speeding or “minor” theft like office supplies or pirated music and digital goods. We see this in bullies that enjoy making others miserable or find comfort in the misery of others.
These people tend to have devious ways. They in a small or large part live to avoid the light. They hide transactions and their actions to avoid being tied to them. This is a progression towards wickedness just as lies become more and more complicated. A little deception can quickly grow into a calculated and devious life.
Teaching Children this Wisdom
This teaching is one of those areas from which we have shied away. We do not like to judge others and include judging their actions. Therefore, we have become loathe to point out the “bad” kids in the lives of our children. Rather than avoid this uncomfortable position, we need to take a stand. Our kids will benefit from us pointing out what their friends (and they) do that is not right or just. We also need to highlight white lies and low impact bad choices that can lead to greater “wickedness” in the future.
Bullies and “hate speech” are often discussed and pointed out in modern society. These attributes are becoming less acceptable every day. Thus, those areas are well-covered. Nevertheless, we need to expand our radar of “evil actions” to include some of these others as well.