KINDNESS AND GRACE PREVAIL
There is a lot of evil in the world, and God will deliver us at some point. How great it is when things do go well for the righteous. It will be hard to watch as the bible warns us of a decline of our civilization. We have responsibility as individuals for our choices, so these wisdoms are a guide. We can remember that Israel lived through bad times and bad leaders. God is with us to deliver us and to help us to deliver others. And he can send people who live the good example of kindness for us.
Proverbs 25: 15-28
15 By long forbearing is a prince persuaded, and a soft tongue breaketh the bone.
Impatience is not a tool for making your case with the boss. A long pattern of patient demonstration of value is the path to prosperity. Wisdom can work without raising its voice, and knowledge makes its point calmly.
16 Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it. 17 Withdraw thy foot from thy neighbour’s house; lest he be weary of thee, and so hate thee.
A good thing is not always good for all time. Overeating or any overindulgence may lead to regrets. Similarly a welcome by your neighbor may grow old if you become a constant presence. There are times when friends need their space.
18 A man that beareth false witness against his neighbour is a maul, and a sword, and a sharp arrow.
Accusing your neighbor of a crime he is not guilty of is more than a blow. It hammers, cuts, and pierces. Now the courts may buy your lies, but the judge is the God who knows your heart. This is a path of death for you far worse than what you can do to your enemy.
19 Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.
I am remembering a scene in the movie “Platoon” where one soldier drifted off to sleep during his guard duty. One of his buddies opens an eye to see shadowy figures creeping up on them, then all hell breaks loose. We count on other people in many ways and a double minded or unreliable partner is a disaster.
20 As he that taketh away a garment in cold weather, and as vinegar upon nitre, so is he that singeth songs to an heavy heart.
After a great loss mourning is a natural process. Really silly efforts to induce cheer are like fingernails on the blackboard or diving into a freezing pond. Better not to be the one who delivers this performance; it may not get good reviews.
21 If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: 22 For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the Lord shall reward thee.
Caring for your enemy is a good thing for you but not so good for him. God rewards your kindness while the unrepentant enemy of God really makes his experience worse.
23 The north wind driveth away rain: so doth an angry countenance a backbiting tongue.
Gossip, slander, lies about another person are incredibly destructive and hurtful. It deserves a fierce look and it will not stand that look for long.
24 It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house.
In a secret corner of the attic you may find dust, but that is still a better place to live than a mansion ruled by a loud violent woman.
25 As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.
Good news from a far country is a connection to people who you know but seldom hear from. That news is as refreshing as a big cold drink in the desert.
26 A righteous man falling down before the wicked is as a troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring.
I grew up beside a polluted river, where storms could flush raw sewage to the top. That is a pathetic testimony to our stewardship of the earth. But worse is when good men are oppressed or imprisoned by the evil and the greedy. That is the horrible testimony of the government of our nation today.
27 It is not good to eat much honey: so for men to search their own glory is not glory.
Lots of honey is fun but it wants revenge if you don’t know when to stop. Oh we also like to get respect from others, but it should be embarrassing to be fawning after attention to the point that others are repelled.
28 He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.
Being wild, unpredictable, quick to anger and lacking wisdom is destructive and shameful. Consider the inner city that has seen poverty, neglect, and decay for decades. The man who is so out of control is worse off than those ghettos, or even a war zone. Do we have such leaders today? God knows the way to guide you through this too.