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Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs. Proverbs 10:12

Many years ago I Proverbs 10 12was playing on a church softball team. It was our first year playing in the league and we weren’t very good. Most of our players were young teens, some had never really played ball.

One week we were playing one of the better teams in the league and, as expected, it wasn’t much of a game. On one particular play a rather large woman on the other team was running from first to second. Our second base-person, a small 12-year-old girl, was just getting ready to catch the ball and make the play at the base when she was completely flattened by the base runner, jarring the ball loose so that she arrived safely on base. Fair play? Yes. Appropriate under the conditions, I thought not.

I went out to help the girl up and make sure she was okay. As I left I had a few choice, not exactly Christian, words for the base runner who was now standing smugly on base. The guy who was with me grabbed my arm and helped me off the field as the woman said “Hey, it was her fault. She was in the baseline.”

I stood in the dugout seething about the dangerous play and smug attitude of the base-runner until a small voice inside reminded me that ‘Hatred stirs up dissension’. My anger turned to conviction for my words and as the inning ended I headed out to the field. I took a slight side trip and walked by the opposing dugout, not to get a parting shot, but to apologize to Joyce, the base-runner.

The next day at work I was talking with a friend of mine who happened to have been playing on the other team the night before. In the course of our conversation he chuckled and said “Boy, you really sent Joyce spinning last night.”

I asked what he meant and he explained that Joyce didn’t have much respect from anyone on the team. They were all angry with her behavior the night before and she had done similar things in other games. But after I apologized for my outburst she walked around the rest of the game asking ‘Why did he say that?’ ‘Why did he apologize.’

My words of apology had sent a message far deeper into her soul than the outburst I’d sent her way earlier.

There are always going to be people in our lives that hurt us. There will always be those who betray us, lie to us and in some way abuse us. When we’ve been wronged the easy way out is to become angry, defensive and full of hate. The healthy way out is to practice forbearance. By definition forbearance means to have patience, self-control, restraint and tolerance. Forbearance doesn’t mean I agree with the way you are. It doesn’t mean I’ll trust you again. It doesn’t mean what you did doesn’t matter.

What forbearance does mean is that in the name of love I will forgive you. Forgiveness is for the benefit of the one wronged, not the perpetrator of the hurt. In other words, I forgive you for what you did to me so I can be healthy.

Forbearance can’t be practiced effectively without help from the Holy Spirit of God. When we are in tune with our Heavenly Father; when we live in recognition of the pain he bore, the patience he has with us; the power we have available to us through his Spirit, then, and only then can we live at peace with those who we don’t agree with or oppose us.

May each of us learn to daily live in the power of forbearance!

PRAYER: Father God, I pray for those of us who are living under the weight of abuse and hurt. I ask that through the power of your Spirit we may be able to be patient with those who fail us; live a life of self-control when we’d rather lash out; and live in tolerance of those who have different beliefs than ours. In a word, Lord, help us to live in a way that your unconditional love will shine out to others. In Jesus Name, Amen.


The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7

The depth of our worship often determines the level of our wisdom. Solomon is considered to have been the wisest and wealthiest of all the kings of the ancient world. He had wealth in the form of money (gold), land, and cattle. But it wasn’t earthly holdings that Solomon clung to as his security. After all, he wrote in Ecclesiastes that he had spared nothing in his want of pleasure, and found all of it to be worthless in attaining fulfillment.

What was it then that was foundational for his greatness? Solomon says that the beginning, the foundation, the footings for all knowledge was the fear of the Lord. A better rendering of fear hear would be, as Gill says, a filial fear, a reverential devotion to his Heavenly Father. In a word, the beginning of knowledge is worship.

After all, worship is giving our allegiance to that which we hold in highest esteem.  Our human tendency is to worship that which we perceive with our senses. We worship what we can hold, what we can hear, what we can taste. We don’t need to name our objects of worship. We show by our actions what is the most important. Relationships, Religion and Riches are the top three. But Solomon had all three of those and came up empty, just as many of us do.

Knowledge is made up of facts, figures and information. Wisdom is the ability to act according to the knowledge you have. If your knowledge is faulty, your wisdom is inevitably so as well. In the same way, if your knowledge of God is shallow, your worship will be shallow.

Some would say that there is knowledge and wisdom that is apart from God, that we need to separate the ‘religious from the political’, but Solomon tells us that the beginning of any knowledge is actively worshipping the God of the Universe.

Others may say, “I’ve asked God for wisdom and got nothin’!” But my question is how well do you know the Father? The closer we are to the author, the more we understand the book. James tells us in his letter to the church that if we lack wisdom, we can ask God and he will give it to us.

If you are looking for answers to life’s difficulties start with renewing your relationship with the one who invented the idea of relationships. If you want to know the meaning of life, begin with getting to know the giver of life. If you are looking for direction, seek the one who laid the four corners of the earth. Apart from him there is no true wisdom. Learning to worship him is the best way to gain wisdom.

PRAYER: Father God, I thank you for being the source of all wisdom. I pray for those of us who are going through difficult times with our families, businesses, finances or relationships. I ask that you would help us to grow in our worship of you so that we may have wisdom to face today’s challenges. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.


(To my readers: Today’s post is in response to the recent accusations of abuse by Minnesota Vikings running back, Adrian Peterson. But in a more general sense, the situation has reminded me of how easy it is to become judgmental. For the believer, hard as it is, grace comes first. )

When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7

Maybe it’s because I made a horrific mistake that cost me a career I loved and left me with a criminal record that I’ll carry for the rest of my life.

Maybe it’s because I remember the shame and embarrassment I felt realizing that I’d hurt someone very dear to me, someone I loved and would have protected with my life, but ended up hurting.

Maybe it’s because I remember the looks, the loneliness and the rejection from friends I once thought would be loyal (many professing Christians).

Maybe it’s because I still harbor the wounds of those who still consider me an abuser, and still hear their accusing words.

Maybe it’s because I remember the few that stood by me even though they knew I wasn’t completely innocent.

Maybe it’s because I learned the ground is level under the cross and we are all equally guilty before God.

Maybe it’s because I learned the hard way that the common belief that one is ‘innocent until proven guilty’ is a fallacy and that even though our justice system may still be the best in the world, it’s seriously flawed.

Maybe it’s because I don’t think social media is the place to determine innocence, guilt or character.

Maybe it’s because I learned through my own failings what grace was.

Maybe it’s because, as a parent, there were far too many times I failed.

For whatever the reason, I’ll stand with AP. I don’t agree with what he did, but Jesus died for him too. I expect the secular media to crucify him, not believers. We are to be the last to cast stones, not the first.

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