The Self-Hurt of Sin
Proverbs 8:36
But he that sins against me wrongs his own soul: all they that hate me love death.

Wisdom, as used here, is the law of God concerning human life and conduct, and sin is the transgression of that law. The text, not in a spirit of haughty denunciation, but with sad and kindly warning, declares that he who transgresses that law wrongs his own soul, is the author of his own sorrow and suffering and loss. God's laws, under His immediate direction, work out the penalty of their own violation; in part here, fully hereafter. All God's purposes in us are accomplished by the operation of beneficent law. To break the law is to thwart His purposes, and bring the ruin which naturally follows such a course. The law of the piano is, that its strings shall be tuned in harmony, and that under the skilful touch of the key light-cushioned hammers shall strike them so that they give out genuine music. But if you fail to tune them in harmony, and then, lifting the lid, strike them with iron hammers, you get discord and destruction. You have transgressed the law of the piano. The law of the watch is to submit to balance-wheel and regulator; take off the one and misplace the other, and your watch reports falsely all the time. You have transgressed its law. The law of the circulation of the blood is from heart to artery, capillary, and back again by the veins; and as it goes it repairs waste, carries off useless matter, and gives health and strength. But if you open an artery and send the blood outside its course, you die. You have transgressed the law. How sinful and self-destructive, then, is the violation of law, and how fatally does he who thus sins wrong his own soul!


1. The law of nutrition. Hunger, flavour, and the delight of the palate are God's arrangements for insuring the taking of proper food to repair the waste and supply the growth of the body. Break the law, and eat for the sake of pleasing the palate or increasing sociability, then indigestion, dulness, sleeplessness at night and sluggishness by day follow. Who shall estimate the sin against the temple of the soul?

2. The nervous system. Its motor power is intended to carry messages from the mind to the muscles, ordering work done and motion performed. Properly governed and temperately used, what usefulness, health, and abundance of valuable labour accomplished may result! Abuse it, and exhaustion, prostration, paralysis follow.


1. To the truth-perceiving faculties. The judgment and reason, acting under the restraint of a pure conscience, leads to the truth in a thousand ways: in business, society, pleasure, habits, indulgences — in all necessary things — and the life is guided in righteousness and wisdom. But let unholy ambition, improper desire for gain, any form of wicked selfishness, get control of these faculties, and how they become warped, blinded, and misguided!

2. To the power of self-control. This is the battle of growing evil habits against the will — growing more and more impatient of restraint, more and more defiant of conscience and will, till appetite, strengthened into habit, leads manhood captive and blots out every hope and joy.

3. To the religious nature. Properly acted upon by the Holy Spirit, it becomes God's audience-chamber in the soul; the natal chamber of the holiest purposes; the place where the strength comes which gives martyr-power. Sinned against, the demons of superstition, distrust, hatred of good, vile affections, scepticism, and cold, dark atheism come in to torment the soul. To the joys of memory and hope. Every life gathers up all its past and holds it in its present possession for evermore by faithful memory; and if that past be one of holy purpose and noble endeavour, every record it holds will be a joy for ever; its pains will turn to pleasure, its hardships to victories, its struggles to triumphs. But if its records be of deceit and dishonesty, of lust and recklessness, then remorse pours her bitterness into every recollection.


1. He would build in us a noble character. Sin defeats His wish, and makes us in character ignoble.

2. He would make us useful; sin makes us hurtful to others.

3. He would make us happy; sin makes us wretched, utterly and for ever.

4. He would have us grow in spiritual beauty, symmetry, and power; sin deforms, enfeebles, and mars our being.

(C. N. Sims, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.

WEB: But he who sins against me wrongs his own soul. All those who hate me love death."

The Self-Destroyer
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