proverbs

An Antidote for Hate

Hate starts quarrels,

but love covers every wrong. (Proverbs 10:12 GW)

(Context—Proverbs 10:1-12 GW)


The book of Proverbs begins with personalized encouragements, admonitions, and instruction from a father to a son. The first 9 chapters also include parables that contrast wisdom with foolishness in general.

But starting in Chapter 10, various topics are addressed more specifically—mostly with contrasting couplets and comparisons. Proverbs 10:12 is a great example of contrasting statements very relevant to our present time. Here it is in another version—

Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs. (Prov 10:12 NIV)

Hatred is defined in various ways—extreme dislike, disgust, ill will, resentment, prejudiced hostility, animosity—you get the idea.

Hate is often expressed by finding fault or projecting blame or making false accusations. Sound familiar? There's way too much of that going around! Regardless of its motivation or source—it stirs up strife...conflict...quarrels...even war.

Hatred doesn't have to run too deep to accomplish this. Think of the many times "I hate you!" is hurled by one person at another. It's pretty common among siblings in childish fits of anger and all too common between spouses. Sadly, I know this from experience.

But love is a powerful antidote for hate!

We have historical examples of love "covering" hate—Martin Luther King Jr, Mahatma Gandhi, and of course, Jesus who said this as He's crucified—Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34).

But examples are only valuable to us if we learn from them and follow what they model. These couplets of wisdom are intended to be useful and practical for daily life. How can we apply this bit of practical wisdom?

The next time someone throws some flaming words your way or tries to start an argument—extend kindness and conciliatory words. Don't answer with a bitter barb of your own—extend forgiveness and grace.

It will take some practice but it could change the world—at least your own sphere of it. Who knows, if enough of us keep extending love for hate, the world just might change much faster than you or I can imagine—one opportunity at a time, one relationship at a time.

Reflection—

When someone throws flaming words your way or tries to start an argument—extend kindness and conciliatory words—don't answer with a bitter barb of your own—extend forgiveness and grace.

Prayer Focus—

Prayer is much needed to extend love for hate in the process of daily life, so ask for God's help often—even throughout the day. The Lord is an expert at extending grace and mercy and love to people who don't deserve it—people like you and me.

©Word-Strong_2018


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Avoiding Burnt Clothes and Burned Feet

The early chapters of Proverbs have several admonitions addressed to a son but they are not gender-specific. Yes, it sure seems like it but they were written during ancient times. Women did not have the place they have now in most societies. 

Many admonitions also focus on the dangers of immoral women, which sounds hypocritical coming from King Solomon who had a thousand wives and concubines. But figurative language is used a lot to emphasize a point, even overstating it.

Whose Water Are You Drinking?

The Bible is anything but boring. It's filled with stories that rival the pop sci-fi, action, adventure, and mystery books and movies of today. Some Scripture is graphic with both sexual and violent encounters that would require ratings for "mature audiences only" if put on a TV or movie screen.

The blunt and honest account of many stories, poetry, and prose found in the Bible confound many. The depravity of people is not sugar-coated. There's no spiritual spin on God's part.

An Internal Plumb Line

People have pursued wisdom since the beginning of time. Philosophers have filled the air and books with millions of words and thoughts with a variety of viewpoints. But philosophy is typically abstract, hypothetical, and theoretical, not practical wisdom.

The wisdom in Proverbs is far more practical than philosophy. It's grounded in truth from God and intended for daily life. This wisdom is to be taken into the deepest part of a person—their spirit and soul—to help them navigate relationships and live a life of integrity.

With All Your Heart

Photo credit: lightstock.com
Photo credit: lightstock.com

As a young believer, I had to learn how to trust God. It didn't come natural to me.

In fact, I had a wing-backed, turquoise chair that I called my "worry chair." It was vintage "modern" furniture from the sixties. I would sit down and worry about things, and get up more burdened with worry than when I sat down.

On the wall facing the chair was a calligraphy of Proverbs 3:5-6, which reminded me what to do about worry. Slowly but surely, God taught me how to leave my worries with Him rather than wrestle with them in that chair

Scripture

My child, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in mind. Then you will live a long time, and your life will be successful. [vss 1-2]

Don’t ever forget kindness and truth. Wear them like a necklace. Write them on your heart as if on a tablet. Then you will be respected and will please both God and people. [vss 3-4]

Trust the Lord with all your heart, and don’t depend on your own understanding. Remember the Lord in all you do, and he will give you success [straight paths]. [vss 5-6]

 (Proverbs 3:1-6 NCV) [Context– Proverbs Chap 3]

Key phrase

Trust the Lord with all your heart

Digging Deeper...

  1. What are we told will benefit our life? How are we told to go about this?
  2. Some things are said in word-pictures— what are we to wear like a necklace or write on our heart?
  3. What are we told will be the benefit of doing these things?
  4. What are we to do with all of our heart? How are we told to do this?

Make it personal...

How do you think you can wear kindness and truth like a necklace, and have them written on your heart? 

What makes it difficult for you to "trust the Lord with all your heart?"

How is it possible to remember the Lord in all that we do? What are actual ways of doing this?

Reflection...

The purpose of the Old Covenant Law was to help God's people stand out as a people who trusted in a living God, not idols. This trust, the essence of faith (Heb 11:6), was to be beneficial in a person's life in a practical way. The value of instruction was not to gather knowledge and understanding, but to bless a person so they would be a blessing to others, and a reflection of the God whom they trusted.