A Way That Leads to Hell
1 Lady Wisdom builds a lovely home;
Sir Fool comes along and tears it down brick by brick.
2 An honest life shows respect for GOD;
a degenerate life is a slap in his face.
3 Frivolous talk provokes a derisive smile;
wise speech evokes nothing but respect.
4 No cattle, no crops;
a good harvest requires a strong ox for the plow.
5 A true witness never lies;
a false witness makes a business of it.
6 Cynics look high and low for wisdom — and never find it;
the open-minded find it right on their doorstep!
7 Escape quickly from the company of fools;
they're a waste of your time, a waste of your words.
8 The wisdom of the wise keeps life on track;
the foolishness of fools lands them in the ditch.
9 The stupid ridicule right and wrong,
but a moral life is a favored life.
10 The person who shuns the bitter moments of friends
will be an outsider at their celebrations.
11 Lives of careless wrongdoing are tumbledown shacks;
holy living builds soaring cathedrals.
12 There's a way of life that looks harmless enough;
look again — it leads straight to hell.
13 Sure, those people appear to be having a good time,
but all that laughter will end in heartbreak.
Sift and Weigh Every Word
14 A mean person gets paid back in meanness,
a gracious person in grace.
15 The gullible believe anything they're told;
the prudent sift and weigh every word.
16 The wise watch their steps and avoid evil;
fools are headstrong and reckless.
17 The hotheaded do things they'll later regret;
the coldhearted get the cold shoulder.
18 Foolish dreamers live in a world of illusion;
wise realists plant their feet on the ground.
19 Eventually, evil will pay tribute to good;
the wicked will respect God-loyal people.
20 An unlucky loser is shunned by all,
but everyone loves a winner.
21 It's criminal to ignore a neighbor in need,
but compassion for the poor — what a blessing!
22 Isn't it obvious that conspirators lose out,
while the thoughtful win love and trust?
23 Hard work always pays off;
mere talk puts no bread on the table.
24 The wise accumulate wisdom;
fools get stupider by the day.
25 Souls are saved by truthful witness
and betrayed by the spread of lies.
26 The Fear-of-GOD builds up confidence,
and makes a world safe for your children.
27 The Fear-of-GOD is a spring of living water
so you won't go off drinking from poisoned wells.
28 The mark of a good leader is loyal followers;
leadership is nothing without a following.
29 Slowness to anger makes for deep understanding;
a quick-tempered person stockpiles stupidity.
30 A sound mind makes for a robust body,
but runaway emotions corrode the bones.
31 You insult your Maker when you exploit the powerless;
when you're kind to the poor, you honor God.
32 The evil of bad people leaves them out in the cold;
the integrity of good people creates a safe place for living.
33 Lady Wisdom is at home in an understanding heart --
fools never even get to say hello.
34 God-devotion makes a country strong;
God-avoidance leaves people weak.
35 Diligent work gets a warm commendation;
shiftless work earns an angry rebuke.
(from THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved.)