Coming off of father’s day, I saw a particular theme repeated a few times in our Proverbs reading for today:
Proverbs 27:11 Be wise, my son, and bring joy to my heart; then I can answer anyone who treats me with contempt.
Proverbs 28:7 A discerning son heeds instruction, but a companion of gluttons disgraces his father.
Proverbs 29:3 A man who loves wisdom brings joy to his father, but a companion of prostitutes squanders his wealth.
As a relatively new father (three and a half years), I can appreciate these words in a way that I certainly couldn’t before. Parents find all kinds of reasons to be proud of their kids, but there is nothing that makes me prouder than when one of my kids does the right thing when they’re given a choice. It makes me proud of them, and I can’t help but feeling that it reflects well on me and on our family, by association. I can’t claim to be the source or cause of my kids’ choices (good or bad), and I certainly wouldn’t want to claim that responsibility as they get older and become independent , but it honors me and it honors our family nonetheless.
Every one of us is a child in the family of God, and are surrounded by brothers and sisters living out our lives in this big, crazy family called the Kingdom of God. Boy, do we have our sibling rivalries and bitter family squabbles, huh? However, as children of the most wonderful Father in the universe, it is our responsibility to honor Him and to honor our family by obeying God whatever He tells us, and by treating others with respect, love and trust. Do I do that consciously, at least to bring joy to God’s heart and to reflect positively on Him, even if for no other reason? Do I consciously display self-control and live irreproachably so that others will think well of my Father in Heaven?
I like the “answer anyone who treats me with contempt” verse in connection with this analogy: remember back to Job, where this is exactly what God did to Satan? In Job 1:8 and 2:3, God almost seems to be gloating over what a righteous man Job is, and is bragging about how proud He is of him. Job was a man who brought joy to God’s heart, even when he was forced to react to horrific circumstances. Do I do the same, no matter what I’m faced with?