A person’s own folly leads to their ruin,
yet their heart rages against the LORD.

(Pr 19:3)

When a “fall guy” is needed for our negative circumstances, we readily acknowledge God’s sovereignty (Prov 19:3). Nevermind our impetuous choices along the way and the untethered zeal with which we’ve lunged ourselves into the mess we’ve made out of our lives (Prov 19:2). It must be someone else’s fault. Yet all the finger pointing in the world cannot erase the curse of Adam and the spirit of denial; it is alive and well in us (see Gen 3:12). So much of our spiritual maturity, moral growth, and psychological well-being is related to how much responsibility we take for the poor choices we make. Although it’s not entirely off base to leave him out of the equation (Prov 19:21), holding God hostage for our foolishness is no way to acknowledge his control in our lives.

Like it or not, we treat others as means to our own ends. This is most clear when someone else has something you want. Those who have little to offer in relationships will find social networking an arduous task (Prov 19:4, 6-7).

One of the most powerful illustrations Jesus uses to show the necessity of caring for the poor is in Matt 25:34-46. He concludes with “Truly I tell you, whatever you did [did not do] for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did [did not do] for me” (Matt 25:40; 45). So too in Prov 19:17, “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD.” How we treat the poor matters. It matters not just to them, but to us (see Jesus’s conclusion, Matt 25:46). One cannot read Holy Scripture and not get this.

While patience can be shown in overlooking an offense (Prov 19:11), altogether ignoring it is destructive (Prov 19:18, 25).

There’s something endearing about a person who is content, especially when their lives contain so much pain. I wonder if “the fear of the LORD” (Pr 19:23) was the Apostle Paul’s “secret of being content” (Philip 4:12)?

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