Proverbs 17:5                                                  September 26, 2004


INTRODUCTION:  While knowledge and skill are important in the demands of science and technology, people today pay more attention to the importance of attitude, especially attitude toward others. In a society which emphasizes so much on teamwork, attitude is like cement that bonds people together to achieve higher goals.  The Scripture quotation above stresses the danger of wrong attitude toward others, especially those who are less-accomplished, poor, less educated or less fortunate.  King Solomon says: “He who mocks the poor shows contempt for their Maker; whoever gloats over disaster will not go unpunished.”


ATTITUDE ON POSSESSIONS:  While it is impossible to measure NEEDS, possession of material fortune has been the root of conflicts in human history. Everyone strives to have more: wealth, power, status, fame, and so on.  Those who have more usually enjoy more privilege than those who have less. The quest for more has been the primary cause on the moral, social and economical conflicts between people and nations.  While Jesus set the legitimacy on the request of daily supply of needs, (Matt. 6:11) the Bible asks that people of God should be content with food and clothing, for we did not bring anything into the world and we can take nothing out of it. (1Timothy 6:7-8)  Greed is always a harmful attitude toward possession.


ATTITUDE TOWARD THE LESS:  Class struggle is as old as human history: the have verses the have-not.  The rise and power of the Communist movement in the early 1900s reflects the friction of classes. Usually the rich oppress the poor, rule over the poor and take advantage of the poor. For the children of God to mock or look down on the poor is a direct violation of the heart of God.  Both in Isaiah 61:1-2 and Luke 4:17, the Bible gives us a clear picture that God sets His eyes on the poor and the disadvantage, the widows, the orphans, the outcasts and the vulnerable. Anyone who puts a label of value on a person base on possession, be it wealth, education, status, etc. is mocking the wisdom and justice of God.  The value of a person never depends on the amount of his possessions.


ATTITUDE ON PRIDE:  Historically, pride has been the cause of many human tragedies, be it personal, social or national.  The cause of Satan is nothing but pride. To be proud on possession, beauty, talent, background, physical appearance, and many others is sinful. It is against the mercy and sovereignty of the Creator God. While human efforts are legitimate contributing factors, God’s people should attribute all they have to the love and grace of God. (1 Corinthians 4:6-7) It is very important that we know the relationship between pride and downfall. Proverbs 11:2 says: “When pride comes, then comes disgrace.”  The Lord mocks the proud but gives grace to the humble. (Proverbs 3:34)


ATTITUDE ON SUCCESS:   Success is a noble goal even in the Bible.  Our God is NOT a God favors failure.  In fact, God bestowed great successes to many giants of faith, especially in the Old Testament. People like Abraham, Moses, King David, Solomon and many others are good examples of success both in worldly and spiritual areas. God never despised success. But God does despise those who credit their success to themselves. God is the only one who controls all people including their success.  “It is God who judges: He brings one down, He exalts another.” (Psalm 75:7) No one stays successful all the time. Anyone who is up must come down. Therefore, be humble when you are successful.


ATTITUDE ON MISFORTUNE:  Gloating, or secretly feeling happy, on disasters on others is vicious and disgraceful.  Jesus rebuked those who gloated on the death of their fellow countrymen in the fall of a tower in Siloam. (Luke 13:4)  Those who suffer tragic loss or die in accidents or natural disasters or any other situation, should not be the subject of gloat or secret rejoice. Compassion is what the Bible says we need to have when we see people suffer misfortune. What happens to them could happen to all of us. Be thankful to the Lord that you are not the subject of the tragic event.


CONCLUSION:  This world is full of uncertainty.  We live, work, possess and enjoy life, because of the grace of God who allows us to enjoy His creation. The rich, the poor, the higher educated and the less educated, those who have and those who have less, many who live peaceful life and some struggle to survive are all under the watchful eyes of God. No one should feel proud, nor look down on others who are less fortunate. Proper attitude to people, possession, fortune or any other thing on earth is the key to honor God who gives us all and controls all.