Proverbs 27:1-6,10-12:Be wise, my child, and make my heart glad, so that I may answer whoever reproaches me. The clever see danger and hide; but the simple go on, and suffer for it.
When I served on staff at camp, the children at my table had a secret sign they employed after a meal. Whoever was the last to catch on had to clear the table. My pious self encouraged them to see that helping others is not a loss, but a gain.
I think about such “inside tracks” when I read in Proverbs, “The clever see danger and hide; but the simple go on, and suffer for it.” Our self-reliant culture often sees entanglement with others’ problems as something to hide from. We become anonymous and distant, using electronic ways of contact and calling those ways friendship.
If we choose to involve ourselves with others, seeing their pain and trying to help heal, then we do take on trouble. We invite the danger of dealing with pain we could easily avoid, and we will be derided by “the clever” for being so simple as to share in others’ troubles. But the wisdom that sustains is the wisdom that we are all one body, and in building up others we build up ourselves.
As a society we too often see compassion as weakness, and power over others as strength. But ultimately, the ones who endure in peace are those who have done what they can to make their world healed and whole.
The ones who serve, as it turns out, are the winners, not the losers.
Psalm 25; Philippians 2:1-13; John 18:15-18,25-27
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