When God closes a door He usually opens a window. Isn’t that what the Reverend Mother used to say?
Sometimes when I read Proverbs the action > consequence nature of the words can sound negative and judgy. Like a whole line of doors closing in your face.
I might ‘feel it’ more if I choose, in that moment, to sit in judgement on myself (or someone else, one or five of my kids perhaps?) thus closing my own doors on the particular issue being addressed, so to speak.
Consequences of our actions, put so bluntly, can inspire a fear response and leave us with a guilt or shame motivation to change. Sometimes it can feel like there is nowhere to go but round in circles in our minds for a while. But, today when I looked at Proverbs 18 – all about getting along with others, being a good friend, choosing good friends, generally relating well. The Scripture 1 Corinthians 10:23 came to mind;
Everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial.
Or better still;
1 Corinthians 10:23-24
“Everything is permissible,” but not everything is beneficial.“Everything is permissible,” but not everything is edifying. No one should seek his own good, but the good of others.…
Reading these verses makes me think about why we may feel guilt and shame when we read Proverbs like these…
An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends and against all sound judgement starts quarrels.
Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.
One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys.
It is not God’s condemnation that we hear if we read these words and feel ashamed (or recognise in them the sins of others). It is not God slamming doors on us. It is our own conscience in tune with the Holy Spirit that sees suddenly, clearly why we are not being edified by our selfishness and why our relationships are failing. Suddenly we understand that we are pursuing the wrong things. We are in fact condemning ourselves.
However, in Proverbs 18, we are not only told, “Now this is what you should not do, so let that be a lesson to you!” like old Mr Berenstain Bear used to say. No, because inside Proverbs 18, like all God’s word, is the gift of life.
John 3:17 says
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.
The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out.
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
I pray today that the Lord opens many windows so that you may fly out of your mind and into God’s arms! I pray that whenever it rebukes, the word of the Lord will also edify you, not only will it reproach but may it reconstruct you, stronger, more free. I pray that as you read Chapter 18 your spirit will be quick to listen. I pray that you will have understanding, knowledge and wisdom from the Lord. May the love of Jesus cover over all sins and bring you new life.
Lots of love,
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