Our scripture reading for today looks a little like a dysfunctional family gathering at Thanksgiving. A feast is ruined by arguing, the black sheep of the family shows up and causes strife, fools make wild and destructive comments, and arguments about politics ensue. But also present at the gathering are loving family members who make peace, and cheerful people who lift everyone’s spirit.
Who are you at the celebration? The downer who lowers everyone’s sight? Or, are you the lifter who raises everyone’s spirit and eyesight toward heaven? As you read the advice of Proverbs 17 below, commit that with Jesus’ help you will lift people up…not bring them down.
1 Better a dry crust with peace and quiet
than a house full of feasting, with strife.
2 A prudent servant will rule over a disgraceful son
and will share the inheritance as one of the family.
3 The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold,
but the Lord tests the heart.
4 A wicked person listens to deceitful lips;
a liar pays attention to a destructive tongue.
5 Whoever mocks the poor shows contempt for their Maker;
whoever gloats over disaster will not go unpunished.
6 Children’s children are a crown to the aged,
and parents are the pride of their children.
7 Eloquent lips are unsuited to a godless fool—
how much worse lying lips to a ruler!
8 A bribe is seen as a charm by the one who gives it;
they think success will come at every turn.
9 Whoever would foster love covers over an offense,
but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.
10 A rebuke impresses a discerning person
more than a hundred lashes a fool.
11 Evildoers foster rebellion against God;
the messenger of death will be sent against them.
12 Better to meet a bear robbed of her cubs
than a fool bent on folly.
13 Evil will never leave the house
of one who pays back evil for good.
14 Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam;
so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.
15 Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent—
the Lord detests them both.
16 Why should fools have money in hand to buy wisdom,
when they are not able to understand it?
17 A friend loves at all times,
and a brother is born for a time of adversity.
18 One who has no sense shakes hands in pledge
and puts up security for a neighbor.
19 Whoever loves a quarrel loves sin;
whoever builds a high gate invites destruction.
20 One whose heart is corrupt does not prosper;
one whose tongue is perverse falls into trouble.
21 To have a fool for a child brings grief;
there is no joy for the parent of a godless fool.
22 A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
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.
26 If imposing a fine on the innocent is not good,
surely to flog honest officials is not right.
27 The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint,
and whoever has understanding is even-tempered.
28 Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent,
and discerning if they hold their tongues.