Proverbs 17:9 “Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.” (NLT)
Love prospers when a fault is forgiven. The wording in this verse struck me oddly. Isn’t forgiveness given when someone has sinned or done something against you? Why would forgiveness apply to a fault? I guess I needed to check out the meaning to forgive:
1) to grant pardon (kind indulgence or to excuse or make courteous allowance for)
2) to cancel or remit
3) to cease to feel resentment against
“Love prospers (is successful) when a fault (a defect or imperfection) is made an excuse for, given a courteous allowance and is not felt resentment towards.” So that is how we get love to be successful in our relationships! Easy to type; hard to live. To look at something that drives you absolutely crazy in another and in love, excuse it. To choose to not feel resentment for that fault in another that causes you pain or makes your life difficult.
What happens when we don’t make allowances? When we don’t say no to resentment? “…but dwelling on it separates close friends.” Go ahead and substitute whatever relationship you need to: “but dwelling on it separates me from my husband.” “Dwelling on it separates me from my child.” “Dwelling on it separates me from my parent.” When I think,speak, or write about at length or with persistence a fault of another, it separates.
Case in point: Last night I went to bed upset about how our evening had ended. This whole teenage thing is HARD! Once again, we had “clashed heads” and the night was a silent one (I guess that is better than screaming, but not by too much!) I laid my head on my pillow feeling demoralized. I woke up at 4:00 a.m. wide awake. What was on my mind? Mariah hadn’t been taking her vitamins for her skin and I was mad! They cost me $50 and she wasn’t even taking them!! So, when I read this verse today, it jumped off the pages. Dwelling on the faults of one, eventually led to dwelling on the faults of another. I imagine it could just go on and on if I let it. That it not the Father’s heart for my family. He wants us living in unity; loving each other just as He demonstrated that love for His church.
When we are in hard seasons in our lives, dwelling on other’s faults is natural. It seems to help us to feel better; especially when we can use it to take the attention off of our own faults. But that is not the way of our King. He calls us to do as He does: overlook and forgive.
How about you? Do you also struggle with dwelling on other’s faults? I would love to hear how you go about overcoming in your life!