Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Proverbs 28:13-14 -- On Hiding and Hardening

"He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.
Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief."
Proverbs 28:13-14

It's interesting that the things that are often instinctual... to hide, to harden ourselves, are almost always the wrong things.  Popular culture talks about natural urges and how we should live closer to the caveman diet of mostly meat, or not worry about adultery, or many other things, because it is natural and part of our physical human heritage.  But God tells us that "the natural man is an enemy to God" (Mosiah 3:19), and as we learn in this selection and elsewhere, what we feel like doing is often exactly what we should not do.  Even later in this same chapter we learn "He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool" (Proverbs 28:26).
Hiding and hardening are understandable reactions.  We worry about punishment and being hurt.  But part of learning to love and learning to be like God is learning to choose openness, to trust, to choose sensitivity and gentleness.  Those things can make us feel weak and vulnerable, but choosing them is not madness, but wisdom.  When we are open, when we admit our mistakes and try to change... that is the only time that we can grow and improve.  Hiding and lying just gets us further into our little corner where we are scared and not progressing at all.  Showing respect (respect-fear, not terror-fear) by listening to God, and being sensitive to his voice, and being gentle in how we treat others... those things expand us and help us learn to think and to consider other ideas and other perspectives.  If we just thicken our skin and never consider God or other people, we're just sealing ourselves into that corner again, not letting anything in, and not accomplishing anything either.
Today, let's work on changing rather than hardening.  Let's admit our mistakes and sins rather than hiding them, so we can let them go and move past them.  Let's work on being open and sensitive, and learning all we can, so that we can accept God's promises of mercy and happiness.

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