Memorize Proverbs 17:9,22
From Torry Patton:
“Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends. A joyful heart is a good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up bones.”
Upon first reading, the verses for this week can be quite confusing. Is God asking us to cover up sins/offenses? Another translation even says, “He who conceals a transgression seeks love.” Instead of encouraging deception or a cover up, this passage is giving the reader encouragement of how to seek love in a loyal relationship. With a heart of forgiveness that doesn’t “repeat a matter,” but offers grace and encouragement, close friendships will remain and grow together in love. This leads to a heart full of joy that is “a good medicine.” Like all good medicines, this offers healing, comfort, and strength. These are in direct contrast of the image of dried bones, the ultimate depiction of death.
One of my favorite books by C. S. Lewis is Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life. In it, he explains that joy, like hope, often shows up in the unexpected places of seeking. Lewis states that “Joy emphasizes our pilgrim status; always reminds, beckons, awakens desire. Our best havings are wantings.” One of the many paradoxes of God is that he satisfies us by giving us a hunger. Let’s find our satisfaction in the desire and striving for love and joy.