CYNICS may ask, how many have profited by the innumerable proverbs and maxims of prudence that have been current in the world for centuries? They will say they’re only used to repeat after some unhappy right has “gone wrong.” When, for instance, a person gambles and loses all they have, including their house, that leads to remembering the old Scottish proverb which declares that “willful waste leads to woeful want.” But did not the gambler know this well-worn saying from early years on down to the   present? But, what good, then, did it do? Are the maxims of morality useless, then because people disregard them? For Christians and Jews, the Book of Proverbs is a great example. But what about other religions?

Here is one to consider from Islamic scholar Omar Khayyām (1048-1131) who was a poet, philosopher, mathematician, astronomer and poet:

To friends and foes true kindness show; No kindly heart unkindly deeds will do; Harshness will alienate a bosom friend. And kindness reconcile a deadly foe.”

This seems to echo the words of the Apostle Paul, who said, “Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord. Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads. Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.” (Romans12:17-21)[1]

[1] Cf. Deuteronomy 32:35; Proverbs 25:21-20

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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