My son, if you take my words ⌊to heart⌋ and treasure my commands within you,
if you pay close attention to wisdom, and let your mind reach for understanding,
if indeed you call out for insight, if you ask aloud for understanding,
if you search for wisdom as if it were money and hunt for it as if it were hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord and you will find the knowledge of God.
Then you will understand what is right and just and fair— every good course ⌊in life⌋. (Proverbs 2:1-5, 9 GW)
(Context—Proverbs 2:1-9 GW)
We take some things to heart in ways that aren't helpful. Criticism—especially when mean-spirited—can crush our heart and break our spirit. Whether accurate or not, criticisms tend to play like a never-ending tape in our mind.
Flattery taken to heart is a trap. It's self-deluding and sets us up to fall when we crash into reality. Like someone who can't carry a tune trying out on the American Idol stage because family or friends tell them they sing well.
An unprotected heart is vulnerable. Who and what you trust is important. If you listen to and go by the opinions of others, your heart will be unsettled and confusion will fill your mind.
As foster parents in the US and in caring for abandoned and abused children and young women in the Philippines, my wife and I saw the importance of parenting first hand. Parents who care for, nurture, and protect their children are essential for a healthy, stable family.
As mentioned in previous devos and posts, mentoring is also important for personal growth and development as an adult. The advice presented in Proverbs from a father's point of view is a literary device—figurative language—to convey a sense of trusted authority.
This fatherly advice underscores the value of maturity and experience passed on to younger generations. One simple need it fills is the establishment and restoration of trust. It also lines up with what is said at the beginning of Proverbs about God, wisdom, knowledge, and life.
Here is simple encouragement and trustworthy guidance for living a wise life.
How have criticisms or flattery caused you grief or shame? Consider carefully what you take to heart. When you filter what you hear through the lens of "what is right and just and fair," you can save yourself from much grief and shame.
Pray for God to give you discernment so you can apply the filter of "what is right and just and fair" to what you hear, listen to, and consider to protect your heart and mind from grief, shame, and hurt. Ask God for His help and wisdom for daily life.
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