So I thought I'd try something new today. I bolded all the "good" in this chapter and left the "bad". (Honestly a few verses I wasn't quite sure of.) If you go through and just read the bolded words, it sounds pretty nice, doesn't it? Now if you go back through and read the UNbolded, ugh! Sounds, I don't know, kinda like our society today - violence, destruction, having nothing. I got an email from a friend yesterday. I don't know the author of this little story so I can't give credit where credit is due, but it's been around the internet so there's a good chance you've already read it. It goes like this:
"A father wanted to read a magazine but was being bothered by his little girl. She wanted to know what the United States looked like. Finally, he tore a sheet out of his new magazine on which was printed the map of the country. Tearing it into small pieces, he gave it to her and said, 'Go into the other room and see if you can put this together. This will show you our whole country today...' After a few minutes, she returned and handed him the map, correctly fitted and taped together. The father was surprised and asked how she had finished so quickly. 'Oh,' she said, 'on the other side of the paper is a picture of Jesus. When I got all of Jesus back where He belonged, then our country just came together."
Now, don't mistake me. I LOVE our country. There's no doubt that we live in the best country in the world. However, I believe our SOCIETY has gotten off track. I think people's priorities have shifted. Is there such a thing as having too much mercy? I don't know, but I know that wrong actions have consequences. Verse 24 says, "He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly." It doesn't say, "but he who loves him gives him 10 chances and then puts him in the 'time-out chair'". It also doesn't say, "but he who loves him beats his kid to death." I've told you I don't have all the answers. I promise you, most of the time I have no idea what I'm doing. I lose my patience, and sometimes my temper. I've been known to give a few too many chances. I say things I don't mean and sometimes don't do things I say I'm going to do. At times like that, I - we ALL - need to head to the only right answer - Jesus. Put Him where He belongs and EVERYTHING comes together.
1 A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, But a scoffer does not listen to rebuke. 2 A man shall eat well by the fruit of his mouth, But the soul of the unfaithful feeds on violence. 3 He who guards his mouth preserves his life, But he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction. 4 The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; But the soul of the diligent shall be made rich. 5 A righteous man hates lying, But a wicked man is loathsome and comes to shame. 6 Righteousness guards him whose way is blameless, But wickedness overthrows the sinner. 7 There is one who makes himself rich, yet has nothing; And one who makes himself poor, yet has great riches. 8 The ransom of a man’s life is his riches, But the poor does not hear rebuke. 9 The light of the righteous rejoices, But the lamp of the wicked will be put out. 10 By pride comes nothing but strife, But with the well-advised is wisdom. 11 Wealth gained by dishonesty will be diminished, But he who gathers by labor will increase. 12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life. 13 He who despises the word will be destroyed, But he who fears the commandment will be rewarded. 14 The law of the wise is a fountain of life, To turn one away from the snares of death. 15 Good understanding gains favor, But the way of the unfaithful is hard. 16 Every prudent man acts with knowledge, But a fool lays open his folly. 17 A wicked messenger falls into trouble, But a faithful ambassador brings health. 18 Poverty and shame will come to him who disdains correction, But he who regards a rebuke will be honored. 19 A desire accomplished is sweet to the soul, But it is an abomination to fools to depart from evil. 20 He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed. 21 Evil pursues sinners, But to the righteous, good shall be repaid. 22 A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, But the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous. 23 Much food is in the fallow ground of the poor, And for lack of justice there is waste. 24 He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly. 25 The righteous eats to the satisfying of his soul, But the stomach of the wicked shall be in want.