I have a lot of thoughts and emotions swirling in my head after the death of George Floyd and all the events surrounding it afterward. There is a lot to dig into and talk about, but I am going to keep this devotion simple by sharing some very pertinent verses from our reading in Proverbs today.
Proverbs 10:12 starts out by saying that hatred stirs up conflict. Well, that has certainly been proven true. If you want to dig to the core of this whole problem, racism, you will find hatred there. People have chosen to hate someone based on the color of their skin. Some of this hate is intense, and unfortunately leads to death at times, but there are also many people that carry with them a milder form of hate that still makes the problem worse even though it may not be so blatant.
So how should we combat hatred? The second part of verse 12 says that love covers over all wrongs. Love is what is needed to make this situation better. Considering everything that has happened, you might not be feeling that right now. There is a lot of anger out there, and it is ok to get angry sometimes. Some things are worth getting angry over. However, that anger can’t last. It will ruin you and those around you if you hold on to anger for too long. There have been many wrongs through the years that can’t be undone, but love can cover those wrongs, and forgiveness needs to be part of that love. The wrongs can be forgotten with forgiveness and love.
You have a choice to make. Are you going to be part of the problem or part of the solution? Proverbs 12:18 states, “There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” You can speak harshly and blame people for their wrongdoings. You might even be accurate about what you are saying, but if your tone is cruel and insensitive, it is like piercing them with a sword. A wise person’s words are softer, gentler, loving, and empathetic, which brings healing.
I think it is safe to say that most people have been feeling anxiety over what has been happening. The first part of Proverbs 12:25 says that anxiety weighs down the heart. I’m sure many of you have experienced that during these trying times lately. The good news is that there is a cure for your heart. The second part of verse 25 says a kind word cheers it up. Again, you can choose to speak harshly to others about what they have done wrong and make the wounds worse, or you can say something kind to help make their heart glad.
Proverbs 12:20 goes one step further by saying those who promote peace have joy. Peace feels so good and it is what most of us strive for. If you can promote peace, even in very small ways, it will bring joy to your heart. The only thing that will completely end racism is the return of Jesus, but that doesn’t mean we should just give up until then. I encourage you to make this world a better place one person at a time. You can’t solve this whole problem by yourself, but you can make it better by being a light to the individuals you come into contact with in your daily life.
I am not saying we all need to pretend nothing happened and try to live happily ever after. There are many conversations that need to take place and changes need to occur. I am saying that we need to embrace the wise words from scripture and go into those conversations with love, not with hate boiling on the inside. You also need to search your own heart to see if there is any hatred there, no matter how strong or mild it may be, and rid your heart of that hatred. Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers all wrongs.
Today’s Bible reading can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs+10-12&version=NIV
Tomorrow’s reading will be Proverbs 13-15 as we find more of God’s wisdom on our 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan