Proverbs 10:7

“The memory of the righteous is a blessing, but the name of the wicked will rot.”

Proverbs 10:7 ESV

One of the lasting effects of righteousness is the blessing that your memory is to those you leave behind. Conversely, one of the lasting effects of wickedness is the curse that your memory is to those you leave behind.

In the case of the righteous, conversations and memories are often filled with smiles and laughter as people say things like “Do you remember when he/she ….?” Or the memories offer encouragement because of how gentle or thoughtful or selfless or kind was the person of righteousness.

In the case of the wicked, people often are left cursing the wicked because of the destruction that he/she caused. Or they are left wondering how things could have been different. “What if I had done [this or that] differently, would it have encouraged him to change his ways?” “If he could only have stopped [this or that], things would have been so different.”

Notice in the case of the wicked, the path of destruction can be very obvious, but it can also be very subtle. The “what if” questions, for example, often bring doubt or guilt or shame upon those who are left behind, even though they are not guilty of another person’s wickedness. In other words, the wickedness continues to affect others. This is rot.

Jehoram, King of Judah, is an example of the wicked person. He came to the throne at the age of 32 and reigned for 8 years. “And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for the daughter of Ahab was his wife. And he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord” (2 Kings 8:18 ESV). Second Chronicles gives more details: “… His people made no fire in his honor, like the fires made for his fathers. 20 He was thirty-two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. And he departed with no one’s regret. They buried him in the city of David, but not in the tombs of the kings” (21:19-20 ESV).

The words that struck me were, “And he departed with no one’s regret.” What is the memory you want to leave for others? Blessing or rot?

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