Every person in our life affects us in some way – either for good or for bad. Individual relationships can help or hinder. Build up or tear down. Bring joy or pain. Foster peace or turmoil. Encourage or discourage.
Think about the people in your own life. How do you feel about the people who hinder, tear down, cause pain, foster turmoil, or discourage? You probably want to get as far away from them as possible.
Now think about the ones who help, build up, bring joy, foster peace, and encourage. Feel all warm and fuzzy? Those are the people you can’t get enough of. You want to be close to them. To spend as much time with them as possible.
Our Proverbs 31 woman was someone we would have wanted as a friend. She would have done us “good,” not bad. Proverbs 31:12 specifically tells us how she treated her husband:
She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life. Proverbs 31:12, ESV
First, she did not do him “harm.” The virtuous woman does not treat her husband wickedly or mischievously. She does not injure him in any way. I find it quite telling that the Hebrew word translated as “harm” can also mean “malignant.” A wife who does her husband harm is like cancer to the body. She eats away at him, killing his joy and injuring his spirit.
Instead, the virtuous wife does her husband “good.” This Hebrew word means “good, pleasant, beautiful, excellent, lovely, delightful, convenient, joyful, cheerful, kind, righteous, fruitful, pleasant…” Stop! I had to edit for time’s sake. I could have gone on, but you get the idea.
What I find interesting is that this word has practical and economic implications. She didn’t simply make her husband feel good (though I’m sure he definitely felt good). She helped him in ways that provided practical and financial benefits. She encouraged him in all aspects of life.
Imagine how her husband felt about her. She spent her life doing him “good,” not “harm.” She was his primary encourager. I’m sure he cherished her. Don’t you want to be cherished? I certainly do.
Let’s be honest with each other today. Do you feel you have brought your husband “harm” or “good?” Do you encourage or discourage him? In what ways?