This wise saying speaks of four negative qualities or situations – “wickedness…contempt… shame…reproach.” It all started with “wickedness” and the rest just follow.
One of the most mentioned qualities in Proverbs, “wickedness” is as bad as it sounds – evil, guilt and even criminal. This verse’s three associated terms would all be understood as regular members of an emotional “posse” that hang out with “wickedness.”
“Contempt” is not a nice word, but it goes along nicely with “wickedness.” Also translated disrespect, despise and scorn, it’s not a quality we should want to feel or have others feel about us.
While “contempt” is something we tend to think or feel about others, “shame” is an emotion was feel about ourselves. Also translated ignominy, dishonor or disgrace, it’s a terrible place to find ourselves.
“Reproach” sort of rides shotgun with “shame” and is even translated as shame, contempt or disgrace. It’s a not-nice feeling to have about ourselves or others.
This verse is just a big downer…but it doesn’t have to be!
It all started with “wickedness” and when we chose NOT to be that guy or gal, then the others DON’T have to follow, either. And being the person on the inside that we should be, if they ever do show up, we’ll be empowered to be able to face them, deal with them and let them go!