When living our lives, we need to be conscious of the effect or consequence of every action we take. This is particularly so when we take actions that concern those who we consider as our enemies. The Book of Proverbs warns: “Whoever digs a pit will fall into it; if someone rolls a stone, it will roll back on them” (Prov. 26:27). While there seems to be nothing wrong in digging a pit or rolling a stone, the intent in doing so is what matters. It is implied in this proverb that the intent is evil and the consequence will be serious. King David explained it better: “Whoever digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit they have made. The trouble they cause recoils on them; their violence comes down on their own heads” (Psalm 7:15-16).
In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus presented the message in this proverb more vividly when he said, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 7:12). This is the epitome of Jesus’ teaching and is called by the academe as the Golden Rule. For every action we take, we need to consider its implication to us because this follows the principle of sowing and reaping. If we do good to others, they will pay us back with good. However, if we intend to harm others, harm will also come our way. When harm comes, it will not be as if our enemy had designed a scheme or dug a pit for us. Rather, it is in that same scheme that we designed, or pit that we dug, that we shall fall in.
We all want to live in peace but whether this will happen or not is dependent on how we treat others. For this reason, the Book of Proverbs admonished, “Do not plot harm against your neighbour, who lives trustfully near you” (Prov. 3:29). Our neighbours feel secure where they are because we are good neighbours to them. They have no worries at all because they can always depend on us in times of need. Similarly, we feel secure because they are also good neighbours to us. However, if we design wicked schemes against them, how will they have peace of mind? Will they not be responding to our threat by devising their own defensive schemes? Certainly, we too will have no peace because we just do not know how prepared they are in responding to our threat. And how many were outwitted eventually by their supposed victims?
In the Book of Esther, we are given an account of a man who devised a wicked scheme against another, and this man is Haman. He was enraged against Mordecai because the latter refused to bow before him every time he passed by. In his extreme hatred for Mordecai, Haman not only concocted a plan to annihilate the Jewish race because Mordecai was a Jew, but he also had a gallows built so he can hang Mordecai there. But due to divine intervention, Haman himself was hanged on the gallows he prepared for Mordecai. This is exactly what the Book of Proverbs was saying when it says, “Whoever digs a pit will fall into it”. It should be noted that Mordecai had nothing to do with the building of the gallows or the sentencing so that Haman will be hanged on it. This is the working of God because he causes trouble to recoil on those who cause trouble to others.
Since we all want to be blessed, we can take a positive look at this proverb and do good to others. In his epistle, the apostle Paul encouraged the believers saying “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Gal. 6:10). In doing good to others, good will also be done unto us. For this reason, doing good to others should be something that we do as a way of life. It should be as natural as eating our meal every day. This is one act that will surely be rewarded by the Lord. However, in prioritizing our good works, we need to serve our fellow believers first. Those fellow believers that are in need are counting on us to assist them. They will be strengthened all the more to walk in the faith if they see that our words of encouragement are coupled with action, because the Bible tells us to bear with one another and help carry each other’s burden.
To encourage us to do good and not to do harm to others, let us consider the words of the apostle Paul. He said, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” (Gal. 6:7). Whether we will enjoy our lives to the fullest depends on what we sow in the lives of others. If we sow love, we shall also reap love; but if we sow hatred we shall reap hatred as well. Therefore, let us “do to others what we want others to do unto us” and glorify the Lord in the process. Hallelujah!