“He who conceals a transgression seeks love,
But he who repeats a matter separates intimate friends.”
Proverbs 17:9 NASB
What you do speaks much louder than what you say. With only a quick reading, Solomon’s words above seem to be about forgiveness in the first half, and about gossip in the second half.
In reality, the second half has nothing to do with gossip. The word “repeats” can be literally translated as “does over,” or “to do again.” And the word for “matter,” which is usually translated as “word,” can also be translated as “an act.”
So a more literal translation might look like this:
“He who quickly forgives a breach of trust intentionally pursues love,
but he who repeats that same act causes separation between
even the most intimate of friends.”
Life As Adventure
Most of us struggle to see ourselves as adventurers. That is, however, exactly who we are when we trust Christ as Savior! Living life as an adventure always pursues love in the forgiveness of others and self.
Adventurers move forward constantly by faith, and it is faith that begins our walk with God when we believe that Jesus did what the Bible says He did for us. We continue in our life on a faith- adventure with God, stepping forward each day as though it was an undiscovered country in which we now walk.
It takes faith to forgive — faith in God and His promise to bless us as we forgive others. And, to a much smaller degree, it requires faith that the forgiven party will change their sinful behavior. This faith in changed behavior has to be a part of the adventure of life!
When the pursuit of love through forgiveness is not included, our adventure turns our life into a miserable drudgery. And equal to this adventure of forgiving others, is our privilege to change, grow, and move away from actions that hurt and offend others.
In faith, our life becomes an adventure when we lean into God for the strength of character to first acknowledge that we really have sinned, and for the grace, we need for self-forgiveness and moving forward apart from that sin.
The life of an adventurer can be painful, frustrating, even exasperating, but also joyous, fulfilling, and ecstatic! It hurts, but the pain causes us to grow, and we leave behind the things of the past, letting them go for a new way of life that is not so futile and fruitless.
The one thing that can really exasperate our adventure is when the person we’ve forgiven repeats the same things again and again. It causes us to long for distance from them rather than closeness to them.
Life As Acquiescence
For these folks, life is not an adventure. Life is acquiescence – a subtle passive acceptance that life is just going to be what it’s going to be. They’re fatalistic. The one given to acquiescence says, “I am who I am. I can’t change. You’ll have to learn to deal with it.”
It borders on narcissism but is more pernicious than narcissism’s blatant self-worship. It is simply lazy living! It’s the pursuit of personal comfort, emotional or physical, regardless of the effect upon others.
Those who live this way are excited about nothing other than their own isolation in rest, relaxation, repose, and recuperation from living with others who, to them have only unreasonable expectations. They will readily admit they are wrong, accept the other’s forgiveness, yet proceed to do it all over again; most of the time unknowingly.
They’ve given up. They’ve acquiesced. The subtle passivity that rules their relationships is only replaced with activity when their isolation is challenged. And, that activity is not typically positive!
Life is no adventure. It’s primarily painful, marked by moments of occasional pleasure. Most of this pleasure comes from being comfortable.
This life seldom feels like a choice to them. It just is. Nothing can be done about it. It’s just the way it is.
This kind of acquiescence always divides, but it does so passively. Isolating themselves from others, either emotionally or physically, their constant repeating the same offenses causes separation from those they love most and that love them most.
It’s a very, very sad life for those who see life in this way.
A Hopeful Future For Us All
If you’re an adventurer, keep loving, keep forgiving, and keep looking to God alone for your affirmation, acceptance, and approval in life. If you go to the acquiescer, you’ll always come up shorthanded. Remember Peter’s words…
“The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaint. As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.”
1 Peter 4:7-14 NASB
And here too…
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”
1 Peter 5:6-7 NASB
If you’re an acquiescer, remember Jesus’s very own prayer for us…
“The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”
John 17:22-26 NASB
Jesus’ words are words of passionate desire for you, for all of His disciples! He longs for us to experience with Him, our Heavenly Father, and one another a oneness that is unlike anything this world will ever offer us.
This adventurous life is one of unity and oneness with God, Christ, and one another. None of us were meant to be Jason Bourne or Laura Croft – we are not secret agents or tomb raiders! We are members of what Paul called, “the beloved,” which Christ made available to us.
God calls us “beloved!” That takes life that you see as pain and turns it into a pleasure even in the pain!
Seek the adventure! Pray for an adventurer’s heart!
Pursue God with your entire heart, and He’ll turn your heart from one that is fearful and self-protective, to one that is courageous and others-centered!