Do not be excessively righteous and do not be overly wise. Why should you ruin yourself?

Do not be excessively righteous and do not be overly wise. Why should you ruin yourself?

Do not be excessively wicked and do not be a fool. Why should you die before your time?

It is good that you grasp one thing and also not let go of the other; for the one who fears God comes forth with both of them. – Ecc 7:16-18


This scripture impacted my life in a way that would take a lot of explanation. Let’s just say that I was a dark point in my life and I was considering “whats the point of it all.”

King Solomon is considered to be one of the wisest men that ever lived; yet for most of my young Christian life I was confused by the book of Ecclesiastes. Then it hit me all at once when I got to this scripture.

Life is a gift. The ups and downs, and all the in-betweens are all a gift. Most of us don’t like the downs, and we don’t like the struggles, and pains but it’s all part of the same gift. How we live our lives and the things that we put our mind to do are up to us.

My training was to be as holy as I could be. That I should abstain from anything unrighteous, and I should seek piety. We should all be in perfect harmony and never have a sideways thought.

The problem with this is that it has nothing to do with the gift of life. It’s not living.

According to the Bible we are to avoid unrighteous mammon (money)…… what?!? I need money to live…. Jesus needed money to live…..  how can I avoid something that I need to spend time and energy to obtain? Some could argue that it’s talking about dirty money or money that is gained in unrighteous ways, but there are lots of scriptures that talk about things that are unrighteous that we enjoy on a daily basis.

Technically anything that is harmful to the body is unrighteous: sugar, caffeine, fried foods, gmo’s, (Vegans would argue for meat being on this list), hormones, excessive fat…..

We could make a case for many things that are unrighteous. We could say that if you don’t exercise daily that you are being unrighteous. Gluttony is a sin, so even if you gorge your self on salad, it could be unrighteous as well.

Movies, just about ALL movies could be considered unrighteous. Jokes are unrighteous. Actually having bad relationships and being around people that bring you down is also unrighteous.

We can keep going but I think you get the point.

You see, we could eat clean and live clean and keep our minds clean, and avoid people, and hide in a cave and keep ourselves unstained from the outside world and destroy ourselves in the process.

The opposite is easy to make a case for. We can eat horrible and watch every kind of filthy thing and hang around with people that drag us down and do drugs and destroy ourselves with foolishness, and wickedness and probably end up dead or in prison.

The beautiful nature of this scripture is that it’s speaking about the benefits of not forsaking the gift of life.


The Beautiful Dichotomy

Life is full of what I call beautiful dichotomies. God created light but without shadows there would be no definition and no way to see the beauty of his creation so there is a separation of light and dark.

Man and woman are the same in many ways yet different, practically opposites, in many ways.

Life and death – Solomon says that it’s better to be a live dog than a dead lion. The beginning of a thing is better that the end. The beauty is that we are either growing or dying there is no rest period.

Winter has Summer, Spring has Fall, and all of them are opposites in every way yet they all equal life.

When we are excessive in one area without balancing it out we will eventually ruin ourselves.

It is good to seek righteousness and wisdom but as we increase in those we will eventually get to a point where it is harmful to our lives. On the opposite side of the coin, if we avoid anything foolish we won’t have any fun.

Life is a gift worth living. The only way to enjoy it is to work and play and eat healthy but enjoy the feast. In life there are always opposites and just because one of them is good doesn’t mean that the other is evil.

Balance Is Dangerous

There is also a danger in being in complete balance. Remember that life is in constant motion. Once you are comfortable and you think you’re in perfect balance that is when you are in danger of falling off. You can read more about balance here.

The same holds true for this scripture.

The key is in the last line, “It is good that you grasp one thing and also not let go of the other; for the one who fears God comes forth with both of them.” For those of use who are in relationship with God and truly cherish our salvation and communion it is easy to know when we are pushing too far one direction or the other.

The good news is that it’s really easy to be foolish and wicked so we only really have to concentrate on being righteous and wise.

One of the biggest issues with gaining in understanding is that it’s easy to elevate ourselves above those around us. We can start believing that we are better than those around us and that is when we start to ruin ourselves with righteousness and wisdom. The point of gaining in wisdom is so we can be a positive influence on those around us. The point in gaining righteousness is so we don’t die before our time.

The Wrap Up

Seek wisdom and grow in righteousness because it is good. In the process don’t forget that this life is short and it’s worth enjoying. In your pursuit of living a better life and influencing those around you to do the same don’t for get that there is a party with your name on it.

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