People use the word heart in many clichés and figures of speech. Here are some familiar ones— Let's get to the heart of the matter. Home is where the heart is. He wears his heart on his sleeve. We need to have a heart to heart talk.
But what are these expressions speaking of? What is meant by using the word heart?
It is not referring to the physical organ in our chest that pumps blood throughout the body. It refers to the intangible, internal nature of a person. Some people keep it hidden more than others, but it is revealed in various ways.
Don’t brag about tomorrow, since you don’t know what the day will bring. Let someone else praise you, not your own mouth—a stranger, not your own lips. A stone is heavy and sand is weighty, but the resentment caused by a fool is even heavier. [vss 1-3]
Anger is cruel, and wrath is like a flood, but jealousy is even more dangerous. An open rebuke is better than hidden love! Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy. [vss 4-6]
A person who is full refuses honey, but even bitter food tastes sweet to the hungry. A person who strays from home is like a bird that strays from its nest. The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense. Never abandon a friend—either yours or your father’s. When disaster strikes, you won’t have to ask your brother for assistance. It’s better to go to a neighbor than to a brother who lives far away. [vss 7-10]
As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. As workers who tend a fig tree are allowed to eat the fruit, so workers who protect their employer’s interests will be rewarded. As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person. [vss 17-19]
Just as Death and Destruction are never satisfied, so human desire is never satisfied. Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but a person is tested by being praised. You cannot separate fools from their foolishness, even though you grind them like grain with mortar and pestle. [vss 20-22]
(Proverbs 27:1-10; 17-22 NLT) [Context– Proverbs 27]
Key phrase— As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person.
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What are the various relationships referred to in this chapter of Proverbs?
What are the emotions and actions connected to the wisdom expressed about these relationships?
What descriptive and contrasting observations, wisdom, and advice are given in these verses?
In what ways is the nature (heart) of a person revealed through relationships and life events?
How a person handles both praise and criticism reveals a lot about them. Insight into a person's heart is also gained by observing their friendships and interactions with others. Even a person's view of themself, and how they live their life day-to-day, reveals their inner nature.
Life is full of ups and downs. People don't always see eye to eye on things. We all say and do things we wish we didn't. But we need other people in our lives, and they need us in theirs. So, what we need is wisdom that penetrates and settles in our hearts, and is clear in our minds. Then we will value those who are honest and genuine, and have the capacity to be likewise.
Make it personal...
Read through the Scripture text again to consider and answer the following questions
How do you handle praise and compliments? Do they go to your head and puff you up?
Are you able to receive correction and constructive criticism, or do you resent it?
How do you handle disappointment, jealousy, and resentment from others?
Do you have an honest, realistic view of yourself and life in general?
Do you have trustworthy friends and mentors to help you a healthy perspective in life? If not, will you pursue such relationships?