"Love covers all offenses"

Posted May 11, 2022

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Daily Scripture

WEDNESDAY 5.11.22 Proverbs 15:1-4, 10:12

Proverbs 15

1 A sensitive answer turns back wrath,
but an offensive word stirs up anger.
2 The tongue of the wise enhances knowledge,
but the mouth of a fool gushes with stupidity.
3 The LORD’s eyes are everywhere,
keeping watch on evil and good people.
4 Wholesome speech is a tree of life,
but dishonest talk breaks the spirit.

Proverbs 10

12 Hate stirs up conflict,
but love covers all offenses.

If you missed it on Monday:

To help you better understand how you can help your spouse or other relationship partner (as well as friends and co-workers), Pastor Hamilton recommends these two resources:
1) Click here to take a free, fairly simple Five Love Languages quiz.
2) To plan steps toward a stronger relationship, click here for the “Truity 7 Love Styles test,” a more thorough, detailed tool. Pastor Hamilton says, “The test is free and shows a chart ranking how you prefer to receive love. You have to pay $19 for the full report which includes the chart of the way you give love and the explanations for each style—14 pages.” Understanding how you give love, not just how you want to receive, is a key step toward better relationships.

Reflection Questions

Many of the Proverbs have a bit of a scattershot quality to them. But in Proverbs 15:1-4, the Hebrew sages linked four sayings that showed how words can wound and damage, but also heal and give life. The values that guide all healthy interactions apply, if anything, more strongly to our closest relationships. The principles in these proverbs, though not limited to family life, speak clearly to it.

  • “These proverbs do more than simply urge us to watch what we say and how; they also inspire us to examine the intentions of our hearts….We may find that our motives are more complicated than we imagined.” * Does responding to anger with more anger usually make things better or worse? When have you seen wisely chosen words break down barriers that harsh speech would only have made higher and more rigid?
  • The Hebrew word for “covers,” said commentator Paul Koptak, in verse 12 meant “the covering that promotes healed relationships, the way that a bandage covers a wound. Hatred stirs up, love smoothes over. Discord and dissension spring from hatred, but love nurtures harmony (cf. James 5:20, 1 Peter 4:8).” ** When has love healed a close relationship, not by ignoring a problem, but by being the glue that points beyond the problem to an essential connection worth preserving?

Prayer

God of life and love, help my mouth not to “gush” with hurtful words. Shape me by your Spirit to make my speech more and more a “tree of life” for all people, especially those I love most. Amen.


* Paul E. Koptak, Proverbs: The NIV Application Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2003, p. 408.

** Ibid., p. 293.

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Dr. Amy Oden

Dr. Amy Oden

Dr. Amy Oden is Professor of Early Church History and Spirituality, teaching at several seminaries. Teaching is her calling, and she looks forward to every day with students. Her latest book (Right Here, Right Now: The Practice of Christian Mindfulness, Abingdon Press, 2017) traces ancient mindfulness practice for Christians today.

Proverbs 15:4 Wholesome speech is a tree of life,
but dishonest talk breaks the spirit.

I love this image of our speech as the “tree of life!” The tree of life bears fruit in every season and its leaves heal the nations (Rev 22:2). It is planted by living water and is a source of abundant life. I love to think of my speech, the words I use and things I say, like a tree of life. This image invites me to be intentional with life-giving words.

We live in a highly reactive world right now. We are quick to “like” or “dislike” a comment, photo, article or statement. We do not take time to listen, understand or explore but instead, we often jump to conclusions, carelessly imposing labels on others.

And this reactivity doesn’t just stay on social media. It spills over into our most cherished personal relationships, where habitual reactivity means we accuse or prejudge, rather than pause to consider more life-giving words.

Today, try this prayer experiment: First, imagine yourself planted like a tree, with roots going deep into nourishing soil. Visualize God’s love, grace and mercy, feeding those roots. Next, visualize that love, grace and mercy coming through the roots, up into your body, beginning from your feet, up through your legs and filling your body. You might visualize it as light or energy particles. Now, allow that love, grace and mercy to fill your mouth, coat your tongue. What does it taste like? Next, imagine branches and leaves sprouting out of your mouth, bearing the fruit of love in all seasons, offering leaves to heal the nations. How might you practice “wholesome speech [that] is the tree of life?” How might your words, or silence, today be life-giving?

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