Proverbs in 365 Devotions
Proverbs 14:10 The heart knows its own bitterness, and no stranger shares its joy.
Brokenness And Joy
Unique As A Fingerprint
In today's verse I think we see another truth Solomon has witnessed in his… well, study of human behavior… and likely experienced in his own life. As usual, the obvious truth he sees carries underlying principals that can be used for application in other areas of life.
First, he mentions the personal bitterness unique to each persons heart.
Of course physical trials can be bitter in the way a cold wind is bitter upon the face. An accident that one never fully recovers from is a difficult ordeal. A long bout with cancer that ends in death can be a strenuous hardship on the one who is sick as well as many family members. Each one of us has their own unique experience of bitter troubles in the body that can be as distinct as a fingerprint.
However; I really don’t think Solomon is referring to these kinds of physical things... at least not detached from another kind… And the reason I say that is because he says how its a bitterness in heart… and he contrasts it to joy in the heart. These resonate with the spirit of man and are spiritual in nature… still they are connected with the brokenness of the physical world we live in.
So then… a dissatisfied heart could be aggravated into bitterness by bad life choices… right? It could be associated with the accident or cancer we spoke of. It might be awakened when one becomes a victim of domestic violence or racial injustice… or maybe you’re one who has been making yourself out as a victim… Someone looked at you wrong or maybe didn’t look at you at all. The mind has a way of conjuring imaginary assailants which can cause our hearts to go sour. But still, sometimes the mind gets it right…
Either way… what Solomon says is true… it’s a personal pain… because our sin is personal and it’s the culprit. Our heart is broken and open to bitterness from the start… you see, no one can know it like we do because sin is so connected to who we are at the core of our being.
However, at the opposite extreme of the spectrum is joy, and its different than happiness that comes from the hap-pen-ings which touch us in the physical world. Actually “happenings” are the same things that cause bitter things in our body… they stir up the bitterness in our soul which we have been talking about.
But joy comes to us when… not sin but righteousness comes in our heart. Speaking of the heart, Solomon ends today's verse with: “and no stranger shares its joy“ .
If today your faith in in Jesus, then you know joy came to you because Jesus gave you his righteousness. He was the only one who ever lived a righteous life. He willingly took the payment for what was due you for your sin with his death on the Cross.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
He imputes his righteousness to all who believe him and look to him in faith. Three days after Jesus died he defeated death and God gives that same power to all who believe that we might live victorious lives over sin as we walk with him… And one day he will raise us up incorruptible, no more subject to the entropy and death associated with sin.
Father God thank you for your word and these obvious truths which are so profound when you open our eyes to them. How the heart knows its own bitterness and spiritual bitterness of heart is from our sin… and how no stranger shares its joy… Lord as believers in your family and not strangers we do share joy that comes from you because of the righteousness of Jesus upon our life… and still it is a personal relationship. Thank you for sending your Son who lived a perfect life, took the wages of our sin, and defeated death on the third day and all that means… Please continue to show us more of your glory, in Jesus name amen.