Proverbs 21:9-11

9 Better to live on a corner of the roof

   than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.

10 The wicked crave evil;

   their neighbors get no mercy from them.

11 When a mocker is punished, the simple gain wisdom;

   by paying attention to the wise they get knowledge.

 

 What good is the shelter of a house if it does not protect you from the storms of criticism? A man would rather be exposed to wind and rain, which only threaten his body, than to nagging and emasculation which threaten his very heart. Though the wife may hope to motivate him with her complaints, they only discourage him. The wise woman turns her complaints upside down, instead of “you always” and “you never,” she encourages her husband with “It would make me happy if…”

 “The wicked crave evil; their neighbors get no mercy from them.” Rather than building others up, the wicked only look for ways to bring them down. They chafe at the slightest offense, clinging to bitterness and vowing revenge. But misery begets misery, their unwillingness to forgive only makes things worse for them. The wise, by contrast, know that an act of mercy can save them from a lifetime of bitterness. They are willing to forgive, no matter the cost, especially the debts which can never be repaid.

 “When a mocker is punished, the simple gain wisdom; by paying attention to the wise they get knowledge.” Punishment may not reform the mocker, but it will deter the simple from his ways. It is much better to learn from the punishment of others than to experience it yourself. The wise share their wisdom in word and in deed, pay attention to them and you will mature.

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