Proverbs 21:14-15

14 A gift given in secret soothes anger,

   and a bribe concealed in the cloak pacifies great wrath.

15 When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous

   but terror to evildoers.

 

 There is a fine line between a gift and a bribe, but it is quite important. No action is required by the one who receives a gift, but misunderstanding is more likely if it is given openly. If the giver hopes to make amends, whether it be an apology or a token thereof, this is best done in secret. A bribe, on the other hand, is really a gift to oneself. Who bribes in hope of getting less than he gives? While tempting, a bribe is better concealed than given – as there is great wrath for those who give only to get.
 “When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.” There may be pleasure in sin for those who do evil, but it is outweighed by the terror of justice. But there is neither anxiety nor terror for those on the right side of justice, who find pleasure in doing right. But reality is not so simple, as if the world could be divided between righteous and evil. “Who can say, ‘I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin’? Though it may be terrifying, the work of justice begins within. It is a difficult path, but one on which joy may be found.

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