Thin Skins

A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense. Proverbs 19:11

We all know that it is extremely difficult to overlook an offense. We want to be right and will defend our views ferociously. God is telling us, though, that it doesn’t matter. Being able to shrug off an offense is more important than being right. I’m afraid it’s a lifetime of learning for this point. This passive approach to offenses probably offends many of us.

Take Jesus as our example. You know people talked about him in front of him and behind his back. He knew what they said and would say, but ignored it. Why? I mean, after all, He of all was right about everything. No, He knew how futile it was to get into an argument about being right.

Ask God to deliver us from the futility of always trying to prove that we’re right.

Fools and Money

It is not fitting for a fool to live in luxury, how much worse for a slave to rule over princes! Proverbs 19:10

You see this proverb in action all the time with celebrities, rock stars, and sports figures. They’ll tear up hotel rooms just because they can and because money is merely green paper to them. Give them excess money and they’ll waste it doing foolish things. For some reason we get into our minds that wealthy = intelligent and wise. Similarly we also have a mistaken notion that poor = unintelligent or foolish.

Whether we are rich or poor, we still need wisdom in how we handle money. And we need to learn to be satisfied with what we have regarding money.

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,

Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you. Hebrews 13:5

False Witness

A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who pours out lies will perish. Proverbs 19:9

This is very similar to 19:5 which states “A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who pours out lies will not go free.”

Lying to ruin someone’s reputation is serious stuff in God’s eyes. We joke at the lies that politicians tell about each other in order to make them feel good about themselves (or to make a point). Instead we should be dressing down those politicians.

In the last part of the verse we see that “in the end” all the lies will be found out and the person punished. It’s another general theme throughout the Bible: essentially, your sin will find you out.

Take time today to ask God to help you. We have plenty of opportunities throughout the day to “bear false witness” against even our best of friends through gossip or idle talk. Pray that God will remind you when the time comes.

Are You Getting It?

He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; he who cherishes understanding prospers. Proverbs 19:8

How are you gaining wisdom these days?

  • What books are you reading?
  • What speakers are you listening to?
  • What television programs are you watching?
  • What music are you listening to?
  • Who are you befriending?
  • Where are you surfing online?
  • How are you doing with consistent Bible reading?

All of these point towards gaining wisdom and loving your own soul. Are you getting it?

When the Chips are Down

A poor man is shunned by all his relatives; how much more do his friends avoid him! Though he pursues them with pleading, they are nowhere to be found. Proverbs 19:7

We generally have a bias towards the poor in our society. When you have no job, your clothes are a bit tattered and you’re living on the streets, no one is your friend. Friends are hard to come by when “the chips are down,” so to speak.

Some reading this have experienced that “economic downturn” in their lives. You’ve known what it’s like to sleep in your car and to not have a place you call home. You know the anxiety and stress it puts you under especially if there are kids involved. Perhaps you even know the reality of friends and family shunning you, which may be harder than the physical living conditions.

Wherever you are, take the time to thank God for your living conditions. Thank Him that you do have a roof over your head and food in your stomach. Pray for those you know who are in those kinds of minimal conditions, then see what you can do to help. Pray also that God will meet them in their hour of need.

Currying Favor

Many curry favor with a ruler, and everyone is the friend of a man who gives gifts. Proverbs 19:6

I recall Chuck Colson talking about his time in the Nixon administration. He talked about the power he had in the position he was in. Next to his office was the Oval Office. He could command men into battle and they would go. The power was intoxicating and as he said nauseating. Rulers and their immediate subordinates have a lot of power.

You see the power at the national level, but you also see it locally. Sadly you can also see how people jockey to be near the powerful people even in the Church.

Isn’t it a little strange, though, we sometimes find it difficult to be near the most powerful person in the world, namely Jesus Christ. What would our lives look like if we decided to curry favor with Him?

Smudging Character

A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who pours out lies will not go free. Proverbs 19:5

I think Mark Twain said, “always tell the truth because then you don’t have to remember anything.”

In the days that this was written it was not uncommon for someone to testify on someone’s behalf. When that person misrepresented the truth, it was an affront to the accused’s reputation, and reputation was a much bigger deal back then than it is now.

Still, though, when someone maligns your character, you feel it. Sure you can brush it off and say it doesn’t matter, but it does. You’ve spend your entire lifetime building your reputation. It only takes a well-placed smear to put a black mark on it. Often it’s not possible to lash out so you hold it in.

Likewise, we also have opportunities to ruin someone’s character and reputation. Don’t underestimate the power of your words. An idle comment when you are upset at someone could have lasting repercussions. Even spreading a rumor can do great damage.

A Simple Request

Wealth brings many friends, but a poor man’s friend deserts him. Proverbs 19:4

Recently our pastor told an interesting story about encountering a homeless man. He engaged the pastor in small talk, then asked this, “can I ask you to do something for me?” The pastor was hesitant because he really didn’t know what to expect next.

“Sure, what is it?”

“Will you give me a hug?”

I have no idea how long the man had been on the street, but he probably didn’t have a lot of friends. Later he told the pastor the one thing that he missed about the old world he once lived in was daily contact with others, whether it was handshakes or pats on the shoulder.

He may have had friends in the old world, but on the streets he was lacking in friends and a warm touch.

Reach out to someone today and encourage them. Let them know you appreciate them.

A Man’s Life

A man’s own folly ruins his life, yet his heart rages against the LORD. Proverbs 19:3

You usually find these people on their death bed, shaking their fists at God, bitter to the very end. Perhaps they’ve lived the good life; maybe not. As their near death, their anger ranges against God.

Maybe you know some of those bitter people. Pray for them. Pray that God will reach down in their deepest darkness and they will come to see the light. Pray also for the opportunity for you to help reach them.

Contrast this with the Believer. No regrets. No shame. They just want to be ushered into heaven. As someone recently put it about someone who just passed away, “she is now on the cruise ship, while we’re standing on the shore waving good bye.”