”The poor use entreaties, but the rich answer roughly." (Proverbs 18:23, ESV)
The proverb above shows us a reality of our world. In this world, riches enable someone to treat others roughly, but those in poverty are forced to plead for mercy, for they are often at the mercy of others. For the believer, wealth should not ruin them — generosity and humility should flow — so the proverb isn't advocating for the rough treatment of the poor. Instead, the proverb is merely stating a fact, something observed in humanity. Sometimes the wealthy get away with bad behavior because of their riches, but the poor has no such leeway.
How should this impact the gospel-saturated, modern believer?
First, it should make us guarded regarding any wealth we might possess.
We would hate to use our positions as an excuse to be condescending or abusive. Instead, if wealthy, we want to walk with humility and grace towards others. We aren’t to trust in riches, which means we refuse to use them to lord over others.
Second, it should give us compassion for all who are in poverty.
Whether severe or light, that poverty puts a person, in some way, shape, or form, at the mercy of others. Entreaties are a trusted method for the impoverished. They cannot afford to speak roughly. Believers, whether in poverty or out of it, see this disadvantage and weep over it.
Third, this proverb should help us get a vision for what the Spirit is trying to do in us.
He wants the poor to have confidence, a trust in a heavenly Father who sees them. He wants the wealthy to have a softness, a trust in a heavenly Father who is their true provider.