9 If you take your neighbor to court,
do not betray another’s confidence,
10 or the one who hears it may shame you
and the charge against you will stand.
Taking someone to court is no small matter. If our testimony is somehow comprised, the tables may be turned and we might be the one who is prosecuted. Instead, we should seek reconciliation and restoration before seeking vindication or vengeance (Matthew 5:25-26).
11 Like apple of gold in settings of silver
is a ruling rightly given.
12 Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold
is the rebuke of a wise judge to a listening ear.
Because real justice reflects God’s truth and righteousness, a fair court ruling is a beautiful thing to behold. Prudent people treasure such judgments—even if the judge has ruled against them.
13 Like a snow-cooled drink at harvest time
is a trustworthy messenger to the one who sends him;
he refreshes the spirit of his master.
When we are faithful envoys of our master’s message, we honor the one who sends us. This is as true in the spiritual realm as it is in the earthly sense. God himself is blessed and refreshed when we faithfully represent him and his message.
14 Like clouds and wind without rain
is one who boasts of gifts never given.
It’s better to give without boasting than to boast without giving. Otherwise, we will come across as useless and disappointing.
15 Through patience a ruler can be persuaded,
and a gentle tongue can break a bone.
We are foolish to believe that disrespect and anger will persuade those in authority over us. But if we approach them with patience and humility, they may become less defensive and more open to the merits of our argument.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, grant me patience and grace to deal with those around me—whether they be my adversaries, friends, or superiors.
Help me be faithful to you and to those who you’ve called me to serve today.