Daily Wisdom

Meditations on the Book of Proverbs

9 Fools mock at making amends for sin,

   but goodwill is found among the upright.

10 Each heart knows its own bitterness,

   and no one else can share its joy.

11 The house of the wicked will be destroyed,

   but the tent of the upright will flourish.

 

 The fool takes pride in sin, boasting of his exploits and joking about his foolishness. He doesn’t realize that he is in bondage to it, and that it causes his relationships to unravel. He might recognize that he has hurt others, but his unwillingness to make amends pushes him into greater and greater isolation. The upright, by contrast, regret their sin and its consequences. They repent of it not only personally but by seeking to repair the relationships they have damaged. This makes them all the more likely to be gracious towards those who have wronged them, allowing their relationships to flourish rather than decay.

 “Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.” Bitterness and joy are internal states of being, often detached from external circumstances. One person is the envy of others, with the fame and fortune the world looks to for happiness. Yet his heart may be filled with bitterness and regret, which nothing outside him can touch. Another person is nothing in the sight of others, but his devotion to relationships and discipline in work bring him joy like nothing else can.

 “The house of the wicked will be destroyed, but the tent of the upright will flourish.” Though the house of the wicked may look great from the outside, it is always at great risk of collapse. If conflict within does not bring it down, justice will eventually catch up with its wickedness. Though the upright may only have a tent, they have it peacefully. The are careful to maintain relationships so there is no threat from within; they conduct themselves honestly in the world so there is no threat from without.

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