A person’s true character will come out when he/she is under pressure. What is in the heart can’t help but spill out in those times.
We are still keeping with my bible helps in dividing these proverbs. These two deal with the heart’s expression in the person’s character. I’m sorry to say I can see myself at points in my life on both sides of these verses. THANK GOD, for He has grown my character.
I remember times of acting foolishly out of temper. My older sister’s boyfriends knew my temper. If I even though they were being unkind to my sister they found my temper expressed through my fingernails. It didn’t take much for me to ‘take up’ for her. I’m pretty sure she thought I was over reacting on more than one occasion.
One time I pushed my sister while we were at a neighbor’s house. I don’t remember if I was playing or angry at the time. I certainly lived to regret that one shove. The neighbor’s dog, a Saint Bernard, pinned me up against the house and bit me. Apparently he was protecting her. Both tempers, mine and the dogs, were expressed that day in a VERY memorable way. I was reckless and careless that day and paid dearly for it.
I have learned over time how to consider my actions and options first. Crafting a compelling argument for my point is now my favorite option. Sometimes it takes standing my ground until the other party sees the logic of my position. Other times it takes listening closely to the other person’s argument too. There are ALWAYS at LEAST two sides to every issue.
When my children were young I had many opportunities to ‘stand up’ for them in school. Investigating the true source of the problem was important. Was it my child willfully refusing to do work? Were the instructions of the teacher not clear? Was the work load too much for the child’s age? Were other children being held to these same standards? Was the teacher’s request reasonable? Was my child behaving inappropriately? ALL these questions had to be answered before a workable solution could be put in place. Sometimes it just took hearing the true requirements for the issue to be resolved. Sometimes it took bringing the matter before a higher authority. And sometimes it took removing my child from the specific teacher’s authority. The main ingredient though was to CAREFULLY examine the problem before a reasonable solution could be arrived at.
God asks us to CAREFULLY examine our lives. We are to be wise and turn away from evil. This only happens when we fill our hearts with His presence. Living in this world, there are MANY examples every day of people acting foolishly, under pressure or not. When their examples are all we see, we take on their methods when we are faced with problems. Which example you take in is what will flow forth under pressure.
Learning to turn to the Lord when the pressure rises takes faith in His ability to carry you through the problem. I was reminded of the time my car had a wheel bearing going out. I have told this story before but the important points are as follows:
- I tried investigating the problem on numerous occasions
- I acted in good faith
- My warranty had expired while I was trying to find the issue
- I turned to GOD for help in this situation
- HE gave me favor and allowed me clarity of thought until the issue was resolved correctly.
If I had stood in the repair shop yelling about the ‘injustice’ I would have gotten nowhere. But I laid it in God’s hands HE was able to work on the hearts of those involved. He gave me favor and the work was completed as if my car was still under warranty. The warranty people even stood up for me when the repair shop ‘fixed’ the wrong issue. I’m not 100% certain if I brought the need for further repairs back to Him in prayer but I trusted that He would see me through the WHOLE process; and He did!
The last part of our reading says “A man of evil devices is hated” (verse 17b). We see this in people who take advantage of others who are in need. The one who exploits others. The ‘coyote’ who smuggles people into the United States and then charges them more on the other end. This results in the migrant being forced into nearly slave labor to pay off the new debt. These men are hated by all but desperation keeps them in business.
We ALL have a choice in how we act, even under pressure. But it starts with building the wise habits BEFORE the pressure starts. Fill your heart with the teachings of the Lord and His Holy Spirit and when under pressure, THAT is what will flow forth. Fill you heart with the desires of the flesh and when pressure comes, that is what will flow out.
Father God, THANK YOU for growing my patience. THANK YOU that I KNOW I can ALWAYS come to You when the pressure builds. I’m sorry it took learning this the hard way. Keep working on me Father until the ONLY thing that flows out under pressure is Your love. Help me be a witness to others, in and out of pressure building circumstances. Help me to ALWAYS turn away from evil, even when it is in disguise.