“Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.” (Proverbs 25:28, NIV)
Today’s proverb is reflected in the words of the modern philosopher, police detective Harry Callahan, as he stated in the 1973 movie, “Dirty Harry”: “A man’s got to know his limitations.”
We err on two fronts when we uncritically adopt the conventional wisdom that “the sky is the limit” when it comes to human endeavor. For example, much of our fatigue and lack of focus is due to our failure to preserve (and to observe) wholesome limits on our personal ambitions; or in protecting ourselves from the unvetted demands of others. Here, we err by excess.
We err by deficiency when we stop well-short of our personal boundaries (aka “limits”) for doing good. Have we reached the limit of our compassion for others? Have we reached the limit of our mercy for the oppressed? Have we reached the limit of our love for the unloved and for the unlovely?
To lack “self-control” is to deprive oneself of opportunities for blessing and good works, as much as it is to protect oneself from trouble. – Luther