Proverbs 14:9-10

Fools mock at reparation,
but among the upright there is favor.
The heart knows its own bitterness,
and with its joy no one else can share.

Reparation was an offering that the guilty were supposed to bring to clear their conscience. It was for a sin that they knew they had committed, but no one else knew anything about it. They were the only ones who knew. Fools mock at the idea that they would need to relieve any of the guilt they feel.

But, among the upright, there is favor. Actually, you might say joy. And likely, a joy that they can’t express with words. A joy that they can only know in their hearts. The reverse is true for the fools as well. They know the bitterness that they feel. They know the bitterness that is in their hearts for the wrongs they have done. They know, but no one else does. There is a depth of despair there that no one can share with them.

I liken it to my daughter Hannah. A couple of years ago, while we were in Ohio visiting my family we went to a buffet after church. Our kids hadn’t really ever been to a buffet at that point and didn’t fully grasp the concept that they could have anything they wanted. It’s not that big of a deal to not eat something if you don’t like it.

While I was up getting 2nds (or 3rds or 4ths), I grabbed hannah a pudding. At the same time, Bekki had gotten her a cupcake. When we got back with Hannah, she chose the cupcake over the pudding I brought.

This happened about 3 years ago. And just a week or so ago Hannah came downstairs after we had put her to bed. As she shared why she was up when she wasn’t supposed to be she said, “I can’t stop thinking about that time that I chose your cupcake over daddy’s pudding.” And broke into tears. This isn’t the first time she has done this. It’s the third or fourth.

It’s really sweet that she is worried about having hurt my feelings. She has a really sweet heart. But she’s been suffering from this guilt for years now. I told her it wasn’t a big deal (I didn’t actually remember it – and she didn’t understand that people just do that at a buffet…) and that she didn’t need to feel guilty for that anymore. We’ll see if sticks.

There are things that only we know. These are the things that eat at our soul. These are the things that lead to bitterness. Perhaps today is a good day to start seeking forgiveness and begin to make some room in your heart for joy!

(Unknowingly, my wife wrote a post about this very story today on her blog, check it out!)