Kindness is rewarded— but if you are cruel, you hurt yourself. ~ Proverbs 11:17 (CEV)
仁 慈 的 人 善 待 自 己 ； 残 忍 的 人 扰 害 己 身 。 ~ 箴 言 11:17 (CUVS)
People often tell us that we should be kind. And we should! Jesus wants us to love each other. Today’s Bible verse tells us another reason to be kind. It comes from the book of Proverbs, which is the Bible’s book of wise sayings.
In today’s picture, the girl is helping her brother get up from the log. Maybe he hurt his foot and that’s why he needs help. Today’s verse says that kindness is rewarded. A reward is something you get, like a prize, for doing something good. So what reward will she get for helping her brother?
Maybe her brother will reward her by helping her later, or sharing snacks he has in his pocket. Often if we are kind to someone, they will be kind back. That’s a very good reward. But even if her brother doesn’t reward her, Jesus will. The Bible tells us that God blesses people who do good things. One of those blessings is making us feel strong and happy inside.
The second part of the verse tells what happens if we aren’t kind. It says that if we are cruel, we hurt ourselves. Imagine that the girl didn’t help her brother, and he had a hard time getting up from the log by himself. He will be angry with her, and if she hurts herself later, he might decide not to help. Cruelty often comes back to hurt us that way.
The other thing that happens if we are cruel is that it gets easier to be cruel again. In Bible words, our hearts get hard instead of soft and loving. We find it harder to hear Jesus inside us, telling us that he loves us. We feel guilty because we know we have hurt someone. And that hurts us, as our verse says.
Another translation of this verse says, “People who are kind will be rewarded for their kindness, but cruel people will be rewarded with trouble.” (ERV) So let’s be kind to ourselves by being kind to others.
Our Father, help us be kind. It isn’t always easy. We’re sorry for the times we have been cruel. Please make our hearts soft and loving again so we can be kind to others and to ourselves. Amen.