Proverbs 17:9 Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.
Heavenly Father, guard my lips in this matter. Make me compassionate over the sins and failings of others, rather than indulging my flesh in repeating their errors to others. Let me love them better. Let me learn to cover their sin. Let me obtain your heart – you, who keeps our confessions in the deepest of confidences, and though you witness my sins a thousand times a day, do not run off to tell others, but cover it in love. Make me more like Jesus.
Proverbs 17:10 A rebuke goes deeper into a man of understanding than a hundred blows into a fool.
1. This is a good test for us to find out whether or not we are men of “understanding” – i.e. not fools. Do rebukes hit us hard? Or do we ignore them? We are fools if they do not take their toll on us. This does not mean we crumble under every criticism. It DOES mean we listen to criticism and weigh it. If there is something of truth in it, we had better listen and learn. If it is a false accusation, we can toss it aside. But wise men are not impervious.
2. It is good for leadership to be careful not to be excessive in rebuking those who otherwise show themselves to be “understanding.” The danger here is that we can wound the tender heart and mind needlessly. Some who are very sound and good can be dealt severe and scarring blows when our criticisms make them wither and shrink back. Bear in mind how these things often pierce others very deeply.
3. How difficult it is to make any worthwhile impact on a true fool. He does not respond even to a hundred blows. In comparison, how easy it is to impact those who are men of understanding. Do not waste your time with fools. Those who will not listen, will not even if accosted by the truth in drastic measure. “As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.” Titus 3:10
Proverbs 17:12 Let a man meet a she-bear robbed of her cubs rather than a fool in his folly.
Remember, the fool is the one who has said in his heart “there is no God.” The one who thinks and lives like this, is the most dangerous man in the world. Let history testify to the wicked debacles of religious men gone mad and perverting Christ to seek earthly riches. It is a grotesque picture. But let history also testify to the unspeakable savagery of “fools” in their “folly. Nothing compares to the bloodshed of the godless. The Mao Tse-tungs, Stalins, etc. exterminated multiplied millions. The view of man as without true value in a godless mindset is frightful indeed. Rather to meet a she-bear robbed of her cubs. At least there is no conscious disdain for human life in general, and no extension of rage beyond the immediate perceived danger of her young.
Proverbs 17:22 A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
Sorrows, trials, woes and difficulties come to all in life. None are exempt. The foolish, fix upon their woes, setting their eyes upon their cares and constantly mulling over their disappointments. Rehearsing their griefs and never letting go of their heartaches. And soon enough there is nothing but dryness to the core. The wise suffer the same, but set their hearts and minds on the good hand of their God. Seeing His wise providence in all, they trust their sometimes dark and painful course to the hand of their loving Master. So their joy, refreshed at the fountain of Calvary’s cross is like medicine to the whole man. Giving strength to endure, patience to wait, and hope for the expected end of their faith.
What a glorious Savior we serve!