Scripture reading – Proverbs 10
We are considering Proverbs 10 for our Scripture reading. Our devotional will consist of two principles from Proverbs 10:12 and Proverbs 10:31-32. [Reminder: Words and phrases in brackets are this author’s amplification of word meanings.]
“Hatred Exploits What Love Conceals.” (Proverbs 10:12a)
Proverbs 10:12 – “Hatred stirreth up [awakens] strifes [discords; contentions]: but love [genuine, sincere love] covereth [conceals; hides; passes over] all sins.”
Have you ever wondered why the world has so much strife and discord? Solomon diagnosed the root cause of a pervasive, contentious spirit and stated:
“Hatred stirreth up strifes” (10:12a). To state the same conclusion differently: Hatred, not love, disrupts, denigrates, damages, and devastates all whose life it touches. Hatred provokes strife in marriages, families, friendships, and congregations.
In his letter to Timothy, Paul identified pride as the root cause of envy and strife (1 Timothy 6:4). John wrote concerning a man who was a cause of grief and a source of discord in the early church: “Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence [ambitious, and strives to be first] among them, receiveth us not” (3 John 1:9). Though some will dress up strife in a garb of religious piety, the presence of unresolved conflict is indicative of an unforgiving spirit. Such a spirit, if unchecked, will become antagonistic and destroy friendships, families, and fellowships.
“Love covereth all sins.” (Proverbs 10:12b)
Biblical love does not overlook sin (for that would contradict the ways of the LORD and the Scriptures, Proverbs 3:11-12). Yet, believers are commanded to lovingly and meekly address sin in each other’s life (Matthew 18:15-17; Galatians 6:1).
So, what does it mean when we read, “Love covereth all sins?” It is that sincere, genuine love is forgiving. Such love will not unnecessarily expose the sins, failures, and shortcomings of one who is loved. Indeed, Biblical, Christ-like love is longsuffering, kind, gracious, and forgiving (1 Corinthians 13:4-6).
In his letter to believers living in the 1st century, Peter wrote: “And above all things have fervent charity [self-sacrificing love] among yourselves: for charity shall cover [forgives; overlooks] the multitude of sins [personal offenses]” (1 Peter 4:8).
We should not be surprised that hatred stirs up strife; however, we should be concerned that some who profess to love others readily entertain and expose their failures.
Truth: Hatred reveals what love conceals; hatred exploits what love forgives (Ephesians 4:31-32).
Be Careful: Your Lips Will Expose Your Heart (Proverbs 10:31-32)
Many have commented that you cannot see what is in another person’s heart. While that observation is accurate, it is also true that a person’s heart is exposed in their words, attitudes, and actions.
Proverbs 10:31 – “The mouth [speech; utterance] of the just [righteous; lawful] bringeth forth [bears the fruit of] wisdom: but the froward [perverse; swearing] tongue [speech; evil speaker] shall be cut out [cut down; punished].”
The tongue is a frequent subject of Solomon’s proverbs, and the Scriptures abound with examples of its use and misuse. For example, James wrote in his epistle, “The tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things…6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity…8 the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:5-6, 8).
Controlling one’s tongue is challenging; however, that small member in our mouth is not the root of our troubles. The problem is the heart.
The words and conversations of the righteous evidence grace, godly wisdom, and discernment (10:31a). By contrast, the tongue of the wicked is perverse and is known for lies and speaking evil of others. Jesus taught His disciples, “Those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart…For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matthew 15:18-19).
Proverbs 10:32 – “The lips [language; speech] of the righteous [just; lawful] know [understand; acknowledge] what is acceptable [desired; pleasing]: but the mouth [speech; utterance] of the wicked [ungodly; lawless] speaketh forwardness [is perverse].”
Your words matter, and they are a window into your soul. You can discern a man’s character if you listen to his conversation. A good, just man will encourage the soul with words that edify and are pleasing. A righteous man understands the power of a well-spoken word (Psalm 37:30). However, the wicked are proud, their words cut, and their conversations are perverse.
Closing thoughts –
Think about it: What do your words and conversations reveal about your character?
Be careful how you answer that question. Your words and conversations reveal your inner man. Understanding the power of the spoken word, we do well to embrace Paul’s challenge to believers of the church in Colosse when he wrote:
Colossians 4:6 – 6 Let your speech [conversation] be alway [ever] with grace [favor; kindness], seasoned [i.e., spiced; prepared] with salt [purifying; a preservative], that ye may know how ye ought [should] to answer [respond] every man.
Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith
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