The one who finds a wife finds what is enjoyable,
and receives a pleasurable gift from the Lord.
A wife is a good thing. For some reason, it seems like marriage and being committed to someone for life within the “holy matrimony” of marriage has become taboo. Sure there are still billions of dollars being spent on weddings, but how many marriages come out of them?
It seems that the foundation on which marriage stands has crumbled over the past few decades. And now marriage has become more of an exception than a rule. And marriages that last any length of time, especially among those born in the last 40 years, are hard to come by. I know lots of people, a little older and younger than me who have been married and divorced. Some who have been married and divorced again.
I also know many who have just decided to give up on marriage all together because it never worked for their parents or their friends parents so they don’t even want to give it a try. So they don’t, and they go years and years living with someone instead of ever committing to them in marriage.
I think part of what has happened is the fairy tale marriage that we thought we would get when we got married. Many believed that they would get married and live “happily ever after.” As though, once they said I do, the happily ever after fairy would sprinkle happily ever after dust on them, and they’d start their journey off into the sunset where all happiness goes.
What we don’t realize is that true “happily ever after” is forged in the fire of daily commitment. Those of us who have had grandparents who have been “happily” married for 50+ years know that they didn’t wave a wand and get to their golden anniversary. They got their by being there every day. They got to 50 years by being involved in their marriage every day of the previous 49 years and 365 days.
I will grant you, as I’m sure many of you are thinking, that marriage has been under attack by society. And while I have many thoughts on that, they are words of minimal ROI. They won’t get us anywhere. The reason they won’t get us anywhere is because the words that need to be shared aren’t words that point blame at all the people who have attacked marriage. The words that need to be shared are the words that will encourage us to fight for our own marriages. Being distracted with what the outside world thinks about marriage won’t make your marriage any better or any worse. Only you can do that.
So, if you are getting married, go for it. I enjoy my wife. And wouldn’t trade her for anything. She is amazing. I have found a rare gift. I have found rubies. She is my reward, she is my sunset. But she is MY sunset. Not in the sense that you can’t have here (because you can’t), but in the sense that she is the sunset for me. She is not the sunset for you, just as I am not the sunset for any other woman.
We know that, not because we were sprinkled with happily ever after dust, but because we made a commitment to be all in on our marriage every day. Some days I fail at that. If you want the sunset, find someone who will go all in with you. You will fail too, and so will your spouse. But, you are the one with the ability to get your happily ever after. There is no outside force that can keep that from you or force you into something that will ruin it. It’s not on your parents to give you a good marriage, it’s on you. It’s not on society to give you a good marriage, it’s on you. It’s not on the government to give you a good marriage, it’s on you. It’s not even on your spouse to give you a good marriage, it’s on you. Yes you must do it together, and you must both be committed, but it’s on you to commit.
Happily ever after dust is found in your day to day commitment. Be all in every day, and you’ll be all in 50 years from now.
From the fruit of a person’s mouth his stomach is satisfied,
with the product of his lips is he satisfied.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
and those who love its use will eat its fruit.
Words are dangerous things. With one wrong word you can start a chain reaction that could end your life. Seriously. Say the wrong thing to someone, and they’ll no longer be your friends. Say the wrong thing to someone else, they’ll kill you. Say the wrong thing to a person in power and they could destroy the world.
Every word that comes from you lips has potential to do good or to do harm. Every word. Sure there are words that are fruitless and pointless. Just as we have talked many times now, there are plenty of people who have a tendency to use too many words. And how it’s better to use fewer words and appear wise. Even if you’re not wise, if you don’t say too much, people will perceive you as such.
What we need to know is that we will live in the house our words create. Our lives will be encased within the walls or our words. The size of the house will depend on the kinds of words that come out of our mouths. If we build up and encourage, if we are wise in the way we use our words, then the walls of our house will extend to great distances. If we tear down and discourage, our walls will be close and claustrophobic.
So, what kind of house are you building? What kind of walls are you putting up today? Are you saying things that will encourage and lift up those around you? If you are, those that you encourage will bring others into the walls of your house so they too can be encouraged. If you’re doing the opposite, if you’re discouraging those around you, you will drive off even the closest in your house.
So, be careful with these little nuclear bomb-like things we call words. There is a lot that can be done or undone with them.
A relative offended is harder to reach than a strong city,
and disputes are like the barred gates of a fortified citadel.
It’s a touching scene. Probably the best scene of the whole movie. Sure we love the fact that a Kindergartener is able to fend off a couple of bad guys with icy-hot, tar and micromachines, but the thing we love best about Home Alone is the closing scene where Kevin had been able to facilitate the reunion of Old Man Marley with his son. It probably makes you cry. It doesn’t make me cry, because I’m a real man. But I’m sure you cry like a girl.
Unfortunately, that’s a storyline that is founded in reality. It it not uncommon for families to have some kind of fight and then never speak to one another again. In fact, I would say that it’s become even more common now than it ever has. It’s so commonplace, it’s cliche.
With all the self-centered living that has been condoned and promoted for years and years through society and culture, we just don’t even try to reconcile those relationships anymore. We think we shouldn’t have to. We didn’t do anything wrong, they did. They should have to come to us, and if they’re not willing to apologize then why should I bother trying to spend any time with them ever again?
The sad thing is that it’s become over smaller and smaller things that the walls go up. It used to be over big things. Like a brother had an affair with his brother’s wife. Or someone borrowed a bunch of money and then never paid it back. You can probably think of a hundred scenarios that could lead to a family split. But now, they’re much smaller things. They seem judgmental about the way I eat or about the way I raise my kids. They looked at me funny. They said something that I took out of context, so I’m not going to try to be nice to them anymore. I’m sure there are even more ridiculous, petty things that have broken up families.
What ever happened to being gracious to each other? Sure, it’s painful when someone offends us. It’s painful when someone does something that hurts us. And I don’t think we need to be door mats for people to walk all over. However, we’re all stupid humans who do stupid things. For every stupid thing that’s been done to you, you’ve done something stupid to someone else. Some of us have done more stupid things to others than have been done to us.
The point is, we should be gracious with one another. We should be forgiving. We shouldn’t keep records of wrong and have a rap sheet a mile long against someone. Get over it. Seriously. Get over it and move on. Life is too short to spend your days stewing about the bad things people have done to you. Get over it and enjoy today. Look for ways to forgive and be gracious. Tear down the walls that you have put up between you and the people that have hurt you.
If you don’t, you’ll find yourself in city where the only citizen is you, with walls so high no one else can get in.
A person’s gift makes room for him,
and leads him before important people.
The first to state his case seems right,
until his opponent begins to cross-examine him.
A toss of a coin ends disputes,
and settles the issue between strong opponents.
Being a big football fan, there are many different kinds of games. Of course, there is only one, true, football. And, for those of you who read from around the globe, I am not talking about soccer. No offense, I’m just talking about real Football.
When watching a game you can see how some of the games are going to play out. There are some games that are defensive battles. The scores are low because the defenses are so good that the offense can’t get anything done. There are lopsided games when one team is so good and the other is so bad that the good team is just going to run away with it. Then there are games with fast scoring offenses, and the scores get really high.
Being someone who likes to watch a good defense, I don’t get as much of a kick out of these kinds of games as others. But, I will admit it is fun to watch the offense score quickly.
What happens in the games where the offenses just run away with the game is, whoever has the ball last wins. I don’t know if you’ve ever watched a game like that, but they happen quite regularly now with the offenses that are catching on in football like the spread offense and west-coast offense. Whoever has the ball last wins. There have been plenty of games where I thought one team was going to win, but they left too much time on the clock at the end of their last possession, and the other team was able to score as the clock ran out.
This last team with the ball idea is what comes to mind with I read this proverb about the first to state his case seems right, until the opponent takes the stand. Then he seems right. It seems like the last person with the ball, or in this case, the last person to take the stand wins.
Whatever the truth of this proverb may be, the thing I think we should take away is, don’t put yourself into situations where things get decided in this way. Don’t put yourself in a spot where you have to bring a gift, where you have to flip a coin or where you have to be the last person on the stand.
Instead, pursue wisdom and knowledge and do everything you can to keep yourself out of those situations to begin with.
A person’s spirit sustains him through sickness—
but who can bear a crushed spirit?
The discerning person acquires knowledge,
and the wise person seeks knowledge.
What you seek/pursue says a lot about you. It says a lot about your priorities and what is most important to you.
What is it that you seek? There are many things we can chase, many things we can spend our time pursuing. Some of us are pursuing careers in the hopes of retiring early. Others are pursuing careers in hopes of making a name for themselves.
Some are pursuing riches and they don’t care what it takes to get them there, they just want the big house and the nicest car.
Still others are pursuing themselves. They’re in love with who they are, and they want more of themselves in their own lives. I know it sounds ridiculous, but it’s true.
There are many other things people pursue. Some are pursuing fitness, others are pursuing food. Some are pursuing family, others are pursuing singleness. Some are pursuing purity, others are pursuing the wild life.
We are all pursuing something. Even if we think we aren’t pursuing anything, our lack of pursuit is a pursuit in and of itself. It’s a pursuit of laziness.
But, at the end of the day we’re all pursuing something. And it’s better to define what we’re pursuing so we know if we’re going after the right things. It would be better to know if you’ve been pursuing the wrong things all your life, so you know how to start making course adjustments to start pursuing the right things.
For me, I am trying to pursue a couple of things. First and foremost, I’m trying to pursue God and to have more of him in my life. Second, I’m pursuing my wife and my family. I have been trying to make minor course corrections in areas I’ve gotten off track so my family is healthy and loving. Third, I’m pursuing the role God has put me in at our church.
There are other things I’m pursuing, but most of my decisions come out of those three pursuits.
It is within the first pursuit that we find today’s proverb. As we have learned, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. So, part of pursuing God is pursuing wisdom. So, the person who is wise and discerning, seeking knowledge is a person who is seeking God.
So, let me as you again, what are you pursuing?
The one who gives an answer before he listens—
that is his folly and his shame.
For some reason, I seem to have been “blessed” with lots of people over the course of my life who think they’re really smart. The key word there is, think… Pretty much everywhere I’ve been there have been people who think they know all the answers to anyone’s question.
It’s a real pain!
How is it that people think they know the answer to every question someone might have? I just can’t fathom thinking I know the answers to all your questions. There are lots of things I don’t know about, and I won’t pretend to know about them either.
But, even worse than the person who thinks they know everything is the person who answers your question before you even finish asking it…now that’s a person you shouldn’t listen to.
In fact, if I could, I would carry around a cone of shame for these folks. The only reason I wouldn’t do that is because they’re kind of awkward to carry around. Perhaps I could come up with a smaller version that could fold up and fit in my back pocket. It would be kind of fun to just pull out a cone of shame from my back pocket and put it on the person who gives an answer without listening.
“You must wear the cone of shame.”
But, seriously, how do you deal with these people? Since it’s not that practical, and I guess not all that polite, to force a cone of shame on someone, we do need a way to handle them.
First, if you are one of these people, for the sake of all humanity – stop annoying us with your brilliant stupidity. Just because you can answer everyone’s question doesn’t make you right. It also doesn’t mean your answer is the best answer. So, learn to shut your mouth.
Second, if you encounter one of these people – you’re just going to have to find a way to politely leave the conversation. Just wait for a lul and change the subject or leave.
Third, if you know one of these people – and you feel like you can help them see what they’re doing, then you might be the person who needs confront this bad habit in them. For some reason, some of them don’t even know that they are doing it. But, if you have the kind of relationship where you can help them see what they’re doing – help them see it. You’re not just helping them you’re helping everyone they talk to.