Proverbs 17:23-25

23 The wicked accept bribes in secret

   to pervert the course of justice.

24 A discerning person keeps wisdom in view,

   but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth.

25 A foolish son brings grief to his father

   and bitterness to the mother who bore him.

 

 There is nothing remarkable about the wicked accepting bribes, or about their intention to pervert the course of justice. They may even claim to have a good reason for it. But whatever excuse they have is negated by the fact that it is done in secret – try as they might they cannot escape the knowledge of right and wrong. Is there something that you do in secret, that you justify to yourself but hide anyway? The first step to freedom is confession, which liberates us from the shameful grip of secrecy.

 

 “A discerning person keeps wisdom in view, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth.” The point here is not what the discerning person pays attention to, but what he ignores. There is no shortage of things vying for our attention, which we only have so much to pay, why squander it on folly? Be intentional about what you pay attention to, and especially what you don’t, lest you wander through life without getting anywhere.

 
 “A foolish son brings grief to his father and bitterness to the mother who bore him.” It is often tempting to take the easy way out when raising children – to be a friend instead of a parent – but the difficulty avoided in the early years eventually returns with a vengeance. Indeed the one who chooses to be a parent first is likely to be a friend later, but the one who wants only to be a friend ends up with grief and bitterness. “The father of a righteous child has great joy; a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him.”

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