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Proverbs 14

A Way That Leads to Hell

1Lady Wisdom builds a lovely home; Sir Fool comes along and tears it down brick by brick.

2An honest life shows respect for God;

a degenerate life is a slap in his face.

3Frivolous talk provokes a derisive smile;

wise speech evokes nothing but respect.

4No cattle, no crops;

a good harvest requires a strong ox for the plow.

5A true witness never lies;

a false witness makes a business of it.

6Cynics look high and low for wisdom—and never find it;

the open-minded find it right on their doorstep!

7Escape quickly from the company of fools;

they're a waste of your time, a waste of your words.

8The wisdom of the wise keeps life on track;

the foolishness of fools lands them in the ditch.

9The stupid ridicule right and wrong,

but a moral life is a favored life.

10The person who shuns the bitter moments of friends

will be an outsider at their celebrations.

11Lives of careless wrongdoing are tumbledown shacks;

holy living builds soaring cathedrals.

12-13There's a way of life that looks harmless enough;

look again—it leads straight to hell.

Sure, those people appear to be having a good time,

but all that laughter will end in heartbreak.

Sift and Weigh Every Word

14A mean person gets paid back in meanness,

a gracious person in grace.

15The gullible believe anything they're told;

the prudent sift and weigh every word.

16The wise watch their steps and avoid evil;

fools are headstrong and reckless.

17The hotheaded do things they'll later regret;

the coldhearted get the cold shoulder.

18Foolish dreamers live in a world of illusion;

wise realists plant their feet on the ground.

19Eventually, evil will pay tribute to good;

the wicked will respect God-loyal people.

20An unlucky loser is shunned by all,

but everyone loves a winner.

21It's criminal to ignore a neighbor in need,

but compassion for the poor—what a blessing!

22Isn't it obvious that conspirators lose out,

while the thoughtful win love and trust?

23Hard work always pays off;

mere talk puts no bread on the table.

24The wise accumulate wisdom;

fools get stupider by the day.

25Souls are saved by truthful witness

and betrayed by the spread of lies.

26The Fear-of-God builds up confidence,

and makes a world safe for your children.

27The Fear-of-God is a spring of living water

so you won't go off drinking from poisoned wells.

28The mark of a good leader is loyal followers;

leadership is nothing without a following.

29Slowness to anger makes for deep understanding;

a quick-tempered person stockpiles stupidity.

30A sound mind makes for a robust body,

but runaway emotions corrode the bones.

31You insult your Maker when you exploit the powerless;

when you're kind to the poor, you honor God.

32The evil of bad people leaves them out in the cold;

the integrity of good people creates a safe place for living.

33Lady Wisdom is at home in an understanding heart—

fools never even get to say hello.

34God-devotion makes a country strong;

God-avoidance leaves people weak.

35Diligent work gets a warm commendation;

shiftless work earns an angry rebuke.