Pray God’s blessing for your family today. If you don’t have any family, pray for those who have been like family to you.
Read Proverbs 17:1–28
17 Better a dry crust with peace and quiet
than a house full of feasting, with strife.
2 A prudent servant will rule over a disgraceful son
and will share the inheritance as one of the family.
3 The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold,
but the Lord tests the heart.
4 A wicked person listens to deceitful lips;
a liar pays attention to a destructive tongue.
5 Whoever mocks the poor shows contempt for their Maker;
whoever gloats over disaster will not go unpunished.
6 Children’s children are a crown to the aged,
and parents are the pride of their children.
7 Eloquent lips are unsuited to a godless fool—
how much worse lying lips to a ruler!
8 A bribe is seen as a charm by the one who gives it;
they think success will come at every turn.
9 Whoever would foster love covers over an offense,
but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.
10 A rebuke impresses a discerning person
more than a hundred lashes a fool.
11 Evildoers foster rebellion against God;
the messenger of death will be sent against them.
12 Better to meet a bear robbed of her cubs
than a fool bent on folly.
13 Evil will never leave the house
of one who pays back evil for good.
14 Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam;
so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.
15 Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent—
the Lord detests them both.
16 Why should fools have money in hand to buy wisdom,
when they are not able to understand it?
17 A friend loves at all times,
and a brother is born for a time of adversity.
18 One who has no sense shakes hands in pledge
and puts up security for a neighbor.
19 Whoever loves a quarrel loves sin;
whoever builds a high gate invites destruction.
20 One whose heart is corrupt does not prosper;
one whose tongue is perverse falls into trouble.
21 To have a fool for a child brings grief;
there is no joy for the parent of a godless fool.
22 A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
23 The wicked accept bribes in secret
to pervert the course of justice.
24 A discerning person keeps wisdom in view,
but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth.
25 A foolish son brings grief to his father
and bitterness to the mother who bore him.
26 If imposing a fine on the innocent is not good,
surely to flog honest officials is not right.
27 The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint,
and whoever has understanding is even-tempered.
28 Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent,
and discerning if they hold their tongues.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat does the word “family” mean to you?
There are some contrasting views of family life in today’s passage, aren’t there? Verse 6 may be the goal, but for many of us verses 21 and 25 are closer to the reality. Sadly, children often do bring grief to their parents, and parents aren’t always the pride of their children.
How can we navigate these difficult situations? This chapter gives us a few ideas. Verse 9 reminds us to let love cover over offences—and to keep on forgiving and loving “not seven times, but seventy-seven times” (Matt. 18:21,22). (Note well, however, that this does not mean allowing abuse or physical harm to keep happening. Love and forgive, but also protect yourself and your family.) Verse 14 reminds us not to be the one to start a quarrel, and to drop the matter if someone else tries. And verse 19 warns us against building high barriers around our hearts.
The overall message is to seek God’s wisdom and restraint. There’s no one like family to “push your buttons,” and only God can override your impulsive reactions and help you respond with love and wisdom.
Has a family member let you down? Have you reconciled? Have you offered forgiveness? Start the conversation today, even if it’s a prayer conversation with God.
Pray for God’s wisdom in any tensions in your family. Ask him to heal relationships and restore wayward members.