Proverbs 28 has many verses describing various aspects of a wicked person. Let us compile them together as follows. A wicked person:
- flees when no one pursues (v1)
- oppresses the poor (even if he himself is poor) (v3)
- forsakes the law and praises the wicked (v4)
- does not understand justice (v5)
- is perverse in his ways (v6,18)
- increases his possessions by usury and extortion (v8)
- turns away his ear from hearing the law (v9)
- causes the upright to go astray in an evil way (v10)
- iswise in his own eyes (v11)
- causes men to hide themselves (v12,28)
- covers his sins (v13)
- hardens his heart (v14)
- is like a roaring lion and a charging bear (v15)
- is a ruler who lacks understanding (v16)
- hastens to be rich (v20,22)
- shows partiality (v21)
- flatters with the tongue (v23)
- robs his father or his mother (v24)
- of a proud heart that stirs up strife (v25)
The Lord told us not to judge others when there are worse faults in ourselves (Matthew 7:3-5). This is not to be misinterpreted as a command not to judge at all since Jesus Himself judged in righteousness according to what He heard from the will of the Father (John 5:30) and He asked that we “[d]o not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” (John 7:24)
We need to make judgments about others so that we can avoid danger and sin. Thus, if the attributes and actions of persons match some of those listed above, we should be wary of such for our own safety and counter them if they threaten the safety of others (II John 9,11; III John 9,10).
From Wikipedia: Stockholm syndrome, or capture-bonding, is a psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors, sometimes to the point of defending and identifying with them. These feelings are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims, who essentially mistake a lack of abuse from their captors for an act of kindness. The FBI’s Hostage Barricade Database System shows that roughly 8% of victims show evidence of Stockholm syndrome.
We must be careful not to succumb to a mindset of the Stockholm syndrome where we “see only the good in others”. To some, if a person covers his sin, hardens his heart and stirs up strife (vv13,14,25), that does not make him a wicked person because that person was very hospitable and generous towards them. Paul warns of this in II Timothy 2:26 – that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.
Dear brethren, it is good to see the good in others but as we approach the Last Day, we must be fully aware that the deception of the devil will be strong (Revelation 20:7,8) and so we must be able to discern the wicked from the good. Indeed, we should learn to recognise evil so that we can avoid it or combat it (I Corinthians 5:13).