Chinese sayings are well-known for their illustrative flavour. These pithy sayings can convey concepts in a simple and powerful manner. The following is thus an attempt to restate and illustrate certain principles using some Chinese Proverbs and Idioms.

When Eliminating the Weeds, Strike at the Roots

Whenever one is getting rid of weeds in the garden, he has to make sure that he plucks out the roots of those weeds and not just the leaves. Otherwise, after the wind blows, he may find that the weeds are all grown up again.

We must have this same attitude when dealing with sin in our lives. Consider Matthew 5:29-30 – “And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. 30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.” (Matt. 5:29-30)

If a particular “hobby” is causing you to stray from the Lord, get rid of it. If computer games is distracting a child from his studies, get rid of it. If a man gets involved in an affair, and desires to get back with his wife, change the mobile number and avoid all contact with the other party. When eliminating the weeds, strike at the roots.

No Artifact Without Refinement

In order to make an artifact or a piece of jewellery, one must first refine the jade. Similarly, the making of a man can only come with the trials and tribulations of life.

This proverb illustrates well the teaching of James 1:3-4. “Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” These tests will also prove the genuineness of one’s faith, as a Christian will continue to walk in faith, despite the various circumstances in life.

The same principle can be seen in diamonds. For diamonds to form, carbon must undergo intense heat and pressure. Thus, the Scripture teaches us to count it all joy when we fall into diverse temptations (James 1:2).

We have also seen in the recent studies in the Book of Exodus of how the LORD used 40 years of shepherding to prepare Moses to lead the children of Israel in the wilderness. This is another example of “no artifact without refinement”.

A Moment in Anger Leads to a Hundred Days of Sorrow

This proverb teaches us the importance of being patient and controlling our anger. Patience in one moment of anger will prevent us from a deep and long-lasting regret later on.

As Christians, it is important that our anger must not be rooted in sin. Pride and selfishness can easily lead us to be angry over something unjustly. If we are soon angry, and do not control our anger, we can lose control of our words and actions, and taint our testimony for Christ.

The Bible passage to bear in mind is James 1:19-20, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: 20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” Let us not do things which we will regret later due to the unedifying words which we say in uncontrolled anger. Such words do not glorify the Lord. May the Lord grant us grace to be patient in anger.

Where there is love, water will suffice. Where no love is, even feasts do not satisfy.

We often enjoy meals with those whom we love. However, when we sit down with our enemies, we count it a chore no matter how nice the food is.

Alas, what a pity that would be if it occurs in one’s family. Thus, we have Proverbs 15:17 – “Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.

Family harmony is far more valuable than the riches of this world. That can only come if we walk close to the LORD in love. Yet how often do we drive our families in the way of the world, and value the success of the family by these things? And as the family drifts apart, even a meal becomes unenjoyable. The food may be sumptuous, but there is no love for one another, only hatred. Is it therefore not better that there be just a simple meal of vegetables but love and harmony at the table? What is the use of feasting over a premium wagyu steak when family members fight? The purpose of a family meal is lost.

(To be continued)


I came across Wang Ming Dao’s spiritual thermometer while preparing for a sermon recently. It is hereby reproduced in the weekly for our profit. How does our life measure up to the thermometer?

Yours affectionately,
Pastor Clement Chew