“Though we believe without seeing, there is nothing blind about following Jesus.”~TB
When you don’t have a relationship with God it’s easy to think that those who do just blindly follow the teachings of Christ. As if Christians live some cherry pie existence, blissfully and ignorantly enjoying life without troubles. Oh, but if they only knew. Having a an authentic relationship with Christ requires you to ask questions, have doubts, air grievances, complain, moan, mumble, etc. No, to follow Christ isn’t blind, it requires you to keep your eyes and ears open to experience the wisdom that only comes from Him.
The Truth is, though we cannot see in the natural world, God guides us spiritually, helping us to see in other ways. Through Him, we are connected to each other. Through those relationships, we can see how God impacts each and everyone of us. Of course, you must see, hear, and ask these things of God so that you too can see the patterns of His love through us. It is so important to have honest communication with your brothers and sisters in Christ, so that the babes develop their sight and that the wise don’t go blind from bitterness in the trenches. It is the Truth of the Lord that removes the scales of the world to see what is really going on.
Are you blinded by the world?
Enjoy today’s reading
Song of Solomon 3
1One night as I lay in bed, I yearned for my lover. I yearned for him, but he did not come.
2So I said to myself, “I will get up and roam the city, searching in all its streets and squares. I will search for the one I love.” So I searched everywhere but did not find him.
3The watchmen stopped me as they made their rounds, and I asked, “Have you seen the one I love?”
4Then scarcely had I left them when I found my love! I caught and held him tightly, then I brought him to my mother’s house, into my mother’s bed, where I had been conceived.
5Promise me, O women of Jerusalem, by the gazelles and wild deer, not to awaken love until the time is right.
6Who is this sweeping in from the wilderness like a cloud of smoke? Who is it, fragrant with myrrh and frankincense and every kind of spice?
7Look, it is Solomon’s carriage, surrounded by sixty heroic men, the best of Israel’s soldiers.
8They are all skilled swordsmen, experienced warriors. Each wears a sword on his thigh, ready to defend the king against an attack in the night.
9King Solomon’s carriage is built of wood imported from Lebanon.
10Its posts are silver, its canopy gold; its cushions are purple. It was decorated with love by the young women of Jerusalem.
11Come out to see King Solomon, young women of Jerusalem. He wears the crown his mother gave him on his wedding day, his most joyous day
“Be conscious of the things you say as words have the power to build people up or tear them down.”
Everyone in this world, no matter how big or small has the ability to influence people with their words. Words like daggers can wound even the most thickest skin. Like a poisonous dart, harsh words pierce the soul, and it’s effects may still be seen for a long period of time. Friends, God doesn’t tear us down, so why tear each other?
Words of encouragement can inspire a person to achieve the impossible. The power of a kind word can be felt for years to come, lifting up the weary or acknowledging the oppressed. The words of life are like fuel to a fire, giving hope to those who need it. In all that you do, for yourself and others, speak life into it.
Are your words speaking life or sending people to the emotionally infirmary?
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Song of Solomon 2
1I am the spring crocus blooming on the Sharon Plain, the lily of the valley.
2Like a lily among thistles is my darling among young women.
3Like the finest apple tree in the orchard is my lover among other young men. I sit in his delightful shade and taste his delicious fruit.
4He escorts me to the banquet hall; it’s obvious how much he loves me.
5Strengthen me with raisin cakes, refresh me with apples, for I am weak with love.
6His left arm is under my head, and his right arm embraces me.
7Promise me, O women of Jerusalem, by the gazelles and wild deer, not to awaken love until the time is right.
8Ah, I hear my lover coming! He is leaping over the mountains, bounding over the hills.
9My lover is like a swift gazelle or a young stag. Look, there he is behind the wall, looking through the window, peering into the room.
10My lover said to me, “Rise up, my darling! Come away with me, my fair one!
11Look, the winter is past, and the rains are over and gone.
12The flowers are springing up, the season of singing birds has come, and the cooing of turtledoves fills the air.
13The fig trees are forming young fruit, and the fragrant grapevines are blossoming. Rise up, my darling! Come away with me, my fair one!”
14My dove is hiding behind the rocks, behind an outcrop on the cliff. Let me see your face; let me hear your voice. For your voice is pleasant, and your face is lovely.
15Catch all the foxes, those little foxes, before they ruin the vineyard of love, for the grapevines are blossoming!
16My lover is mine, and I am his. He browses among the lilies.
17Before the dawn breezes blow and the night shadows flee, return to me, my love, like a gazelle or a young stag on the rugged mountains.
“In order to go somewhere new, you have to do something new.”~TB
If you’ve been trying to go to the next level in your faith, but feel stagnate, check your process. Examine your patterns of behavior. Grab ahold of your thought life. Old methods won’t yield new results. So throw off the old and embrace doing something new.
New places, people, and things are unfamiliar and probably feel uncomfortable. Truth is, growth will always be uncomfortable. So if God is placing you in a period of uncomfortable-ness, it’s not punishment, but rather the playing field for you to grow closer to Him. Choose to see the opportunities rather than the obstacles.
Are you ready to give up your old ways for something new?
Enjoy the reading
Song of Solomon 1
1This is Solomon’s song of songs, more wonderful than any other.
2Kiss me and kiss me again, for your love is sweeter than wine.
3How fragrant your cologne; your name is like its spreading fragrance. No wonder all the young women love you!
4Take me with you; come, let’s run! The king has brought me into his bedroom. Young Women of Jerusalem How happy we are for you, O king. We praise your love even more than wine. Young Woman How right they are to adore you.
5I am dark but beautiful, O women of Jerusalem— dark as the tents of Kedar, dark as the curtains of Solomon’s tents.
6Don’t stare at me because I am dark— the sun has darkened my skin. My brothers were angry with me; they forced me to care for their vineyards, so I couldn’t care for myself—my own vineyard.
7Tell me, my love, where are you leading your flock today? Where will you rest your sheep at noon? For why should I wander like a prostitute among your friends and their flocks?
8If you don’t know, O most beautiful woman, follow the trail of my flock, and graze your young goats by the shepherds’ tents.
9You are as exciting, my darling, as a mare among Pharaoh’s stallions.
10How lovely are your cheeks; your earrings set them afire! How lovely is your neck, enhanced by a string of jewels.
11We will make for you earrings of gold and beads of silver.
12The king is lying on his couch, enchanted by the fragrance of my perfume.
13My lover is like a sachet of myrrh lying between my breasts.
14He is like a bouquet of sweet henna blossoms from the vineyards of En-gedi.
15How beautiful you are, my darling, how beautiful! Your eyes are like doves.
16You are so handsome, my love, pleasing beyond words! The soft grass is our bed;
17fragrant cedar branches are the beams of our house, and pleasant smelling firs are the rafters.
“God is not some magical genie, standing by to grant your every wish.”~TB
I’ll be blunt, humans are dumb. Yes, all of us. We want what we want, when we want it, even foolishly believing with deserve it. Even those who claim to be wise fall into this trap from time to time. Just because you’re living right does not mean God owes you everything you ask for. No, he’s not a genie in a bottle, but rather, our Father in Heaven. Know the difference. It is a waste to only look at God as a gift giver and that mentality makes you miss out on the greatest relationship of all.
A Gift Given
A relationship built on wants and desires is a transactional one. If you believe that you can actually give something of value to God in exchange for your wishlist, you certainly need to reevaluate your mindset. Aside from the ultimate gift— salvation— God has given each of us the opportunity to draw close to Him. This relationship forms all others and through time, pruning, perseverance, He will teach you the true meaning of being one of His.
Are you looking for a Genie in a bottle or for your Father in Heaven?
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1Send your grain across the seas, and in time, profits will flow back to you.
2But divide your investments among many places, for you do not know what risks might lie ahead.
3When clouds are heavy, the rains come down. Whether a tree falls north or south, it stays where it falls.
4Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant. If they watch every cloud, they never harvest.
5Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things.
6Plant your seed in the morning and keep busy all afternoon, for you don’t know if profit will come from one activity or another—or maybe both.
7Light is sweet; how pleasant to see a new day dawning.
8When people live to be very old, let them rejoice in every day of life. But let them also remember there will be many dark days. Everything still to come is meaningless.
9Young people, it’s wonderful to be young! Enjoy every minute of it. Do everything you want to do; take it all in. But remember that you must give an account to God for everything you do.
10So refuse to worry, and keep your body healthy. But remember that youth, with a whole life before you, is meaningless.
“Be glad that God doesn’t invoke the same corrupt policies as we do to one another.”~TB
Greed and thievery are cloaked in rules and regulations, trapping the innocent and the uninformed. Our society steals earnings from the vulnerable and act like it’s the cost of doing business. How corrupt! Those in charge are indifferent, hiding behind ‘policy’, knowing full well they are engaging in immoral and evil practices and those enslaved mindlessly endure such abuse. What a world. Friends, we must turn away from stealing from our neighbors and tolerating such abuses, unless slavery is what you truly crave. These policies— legalistic and immoral— are the very same things spoken in the Bible.
Image if you came before God to confess and repent your sins and he tells you that you’ve maxed out your Grace deductible and it’s off to hell you go. Fortunately for us, His Grace is infinite and there is no fine print or shady fines to trip us up. When you come before Him, you don’t have to worry about the red tape or policies of this world. He loves you as you are. There is no way to overdraft God’s love for you. Instead of following the ways of the world, adopt God’s method of love. This way you can love others as God loves you. It is there where we can begin to change the corrupt ways of this world.
If God is so merciful and lenient, why aren’t we?
1This, too, I carefully explored: Even though the actions of godly and wise people are in God’s hands, no one knows whether God will show them favor.
2The same destiny ultimately awaits everyone, whether righteous or wicked, good or bad, ceremonially clean or unclean, religious or irreligious. Good people receive the same treatment as sinners, and people who make promises to God are treated like people who don’t.
3It seems so wrong that everyone under the sun suffers the same fate. Already twisted by evil, people choose their own mad course, for they have no hope. There is nothing ahead but death anyway.
4There is hope only for the living. As they say, “It’s better to be a live dog than a dead lion!”
5The living at least know they will die, but the dead know nothing. They have no further reward, nor are they remembered.
6Whatever they did in their lifetime—loving, hating, envying—is all long gone. They no longer play a part in anything here on earth.
7So go ahead. Eat your food with joy, and drink your wine with a happy heart, for God approves of this!
8Wear fine clothes, with a splash of cologne!
9Live happily with the woman you love through all the meaningless days of life that God has given you under the sun. The wife God gives you is your reward for all your earthly toil.
10Whatever you do, do well. For when you go to the grave, there will be no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom.
11I have observed something else under the sun. The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn’t always win the battle. The wise sometimes go hungry, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don’t always lead successful lives. It is all decided by chance, by being in the right place at the right time.
12People can never predict when hard times might come. Like fish in a net or birds in a trap, people are caught by sudden tragedy.
13Here is another bit of wisdom that has impressed me as I have watched the way our world works.
14There was a small town with only a few people, and a great king came with his army and besieged it.
15A poor, wise man knew how to save the town, and so it was rescued. But afterward no one thought to thank him.
16So even though wisdom is better than strength, those who are wise will be despised if they are poor. What they say will not be appreciated for long.
17Better to hear the quiet words of a wise person than the shouts of a foolish king.
18Better to have wisdom than weapons of war, but one sinner can destroy much that is good
“Do your best to be even-keeled as life if full of hills, valleys, and plateaus. The only thing we can be sure of is that God is in the midst of it all.”~TB
Notice the patterns in life, things are always in motion, whether you like it or not. Good things happen, followed by bad things, followed by ok things, and so on and so on. When you rely on the understanding the world tries to give, you will be as helpless and unstable as a leaf in a severe wind. If you seek peace, get to know God. It is that relationship, and that relationship alone that can help you understand the tide of your life.
Instead of fighting the tide, learn to flow with it. God will teach you how to wade in the waters of life if you let Him. This starts by relinquishing what control you believe to have in this worlds. Friends, we control nothing and even the best laid plans can crumble. This shouldn’t scare you, no, instead rejoice in the Truth that the Hand of God is in all things. All things work for Him, so don’t push or pull in your life, but rather, go with the flow.
Are you going with the flow with God?
1For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.
2A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest.
3A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up.
4A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance.
5A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
6A time to search and a time to quit searching. A time to keep and a time to throw away.
7A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
8A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace.
9What do people really get for all their hard work?
10I have seen the burden God has placed on us all.
11Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.
12So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can.
13And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.
14And I know that whatever God does is final. Nothing can be added to it or taken from it. God’s purpose is that people should fear him.
15What is happening now has happened before, and what will happen in the future has happened before, because God makes the same things happen over and over again.
16I also noticed that under the sun there is evil in the courtroom. Yes, even the courts of law are corrupt!
17I said to myself, “In due season God will judge everyone, both good and bad, for all their deeds.”
18I also thought about the human condition—how God proves to people that they are like animals.
19For people and animals share the same fate—both breathe and both must die. So people have no real advantage over the animals. How meaningless!
20Both go to the same place—they came from dust and they return to dust.
21For who can prove that the human spirit goes up and the spirit of animals goes down into the earth?
22So I saw that there is nothing better for people than to be happy in their work. That is our lot in life. And no one can bring us back to see what happens after we die.
“Don’t be dismayed when trouble comes your way because God will use a breakdown to help you breakthrough your footholds.”~TB
Understand that bad things don’t only happen because you’ve done something wrong. In fact, there are many lessons to learn when failure or opposition occurs. In your struggles, you can learn how to fully rely on God and not man made alternatives that help numb your suffering. Your relationship with God is the most important relationship you will have and learning how to trust Him in all areas of your life requires enduring situations of all kinds. God is with you in the good times, the bad times, and the in between. Your breakdown strips away all of the distractions and disruptions that keep you from fully walking with God.
Facing trials that make you fall on your face is a humbling experience. But friends, humility is the best tool that you can possess! Humility teaches you that you cannot live this life alone. Humility shows you that God is necessary and not optional. While He will never make you choose to know Him, if you study your breakdowns, trials, stumbling blocks, you will soon realize how much you need Him. Once you realize that Truth, you begin to rejoice in getting to know Him. An authentic relationship with Christ is not duty bound, but a joyful connection that comes from being one of His. Take comfort in your breakdown to experience the breakthrough that is Christ.
Are you breaking through your breakdown?
1The sayings of Agur son of Jakeh contain this message. I am weary, O God; I am weary and worn out, O God.
2I am too stupid to be human, and I lack common sense.
3I have not mastered human wisdom, nor do I know the Holy One.
4Who but God goes up to heaven and comes back down? Who holds the wind in his fists? Who wraps up the oceans in his cloak? Who has created the whole wide world? What is his name—and his son’s name? Tell me if you know!
5Every word of God proves true. He is a shield to all who come to him for protection.
6Do not add to his words, or he may rebuke you and expose you as a liar.
7O God, I beg two favors from you; let me have them before I die.
8First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs.
9For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the LORD ?” And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name.
10Never slander a worker to the employer, or the person will curse you, and you will pay for it.
11Some people curse their father and do not thank their mother.
12They are pure in their own eyes, but they are filthy and unwashed.
“God uses detours to take you to the place you were meant to be.”~TB
Don’t be dismayed when your plans are altered, or negative experiences change your destination. God uses those moments to place you where you can be of good use. Though we make plans, God will steer us where we ultimately need to be. So when detours arise, rejoice in where God sends you. Know that His plans are infinitely more Devine and accurate than your own.
Humans a egocentric in that we want what we want, when we want it. Fortunately for us, God knows what we need. A detour may seem inconvenient, but God may be using that moment for you to uplift and encourage a brother or sister in need. Do not forget that we are all part of one body and God will use of to help each other. So when changes arise, you are in the right place, just consult God for the mission. Chances are you’re being called to serve a greater purpose.
Are you in the right place or is everything an inconvenience?
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1The wicked run away when no one is chasing them, but the godly are as bold as lions.
2When there is moral rot within a nation, its government topples easily. But wise and knowledgeable leaders bring stability.
3A poor person who oppresses the poor is like a pounding rain that destroys the crops.
4To reject the law is to praise the wicked; to obey the law is to fight them.
5Evil people don’t understand justice, but those who follow the LORD understand completely.
6Better to be poor and honest than to be dishonest and rich.
7Young people who obey the law are wise; those with wild friends bring shame to their parents.
8Income from charging high interest rates will end up in the pocket of someone who is kind to the poor.
9God detests the prayers of a person who ignores the law.
10Those who lead good people along an evil path will fall into their own trap, but the honest will inherit good things.
11Rich people may think they are wise, but a poor person with discernment can see right through them.
12When the godly succeed, everyone is glad. When the wicked take charge, people go into hiding.
13People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.
14Blessed are those who fear to do wrong, but the stubborn are headed for serious trouble.
15A wicked ruler is as dangerous to the poor as a roaring lion or an attacking bear.
16A ruler with no understanding will oppress his people, but one who hates corruption will have a long life.
17A murderer’s tormented conscience will drive him into the grave. Don’t protect him!
18The blameless will be rescued from harm, but the crooked will be suddenly destroyed.
19A hard worker has plenty of food, but a person who chases fantasies ends up in poverty.
20The trustworthy person will get a rich reward, but a person who wants quick riches will get into trouble.
21Showing partiality is never good, yet some will do wrong for a mere piece of bread.
22Greedy people try to get rich quick but don’t realize they’re headed for poverty.
23In the end, people appreciate honest criticism far more than flattery.
24Anyone who steals from his father and mother and says, “What’s wrong with that?” is no better than a murderer.
25Greed causes fighting; trusting the LORD leads to prosperity.
26Those who trust their own insight are foolish, but anyone who walks in wisdom is safe.
27Whoever gives to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to poverty will be cursed.
28When the wicked take charge, people go into hiding. When the wicked meet disaster, the godly flourish.
“The opposition can take things from you, but he cannot take your salvation.”~TB
Like a thief lying in wait for the opportune moment, he will try and steal your peace and joy by any means necessary. His main goal is to get you to feel as though God isn’t with you. Friends, don’t turn your back away from God when you are going through tough times. Remain calm and learn all you can in your trials so that you grow from the experience.
When you experience setbacks that come from the evil one, rest assured that these attacks are temporary and they will pass. In times of great trial, lean on the word for comfort. The Bible is filled with stories of men and women who have endured trying times and great opposition. What comfort it is to know that our experiences are no different from those before us!
Whatever the opposition attempts to steal, God will redeem and then some. Christ is the ultimate defender and protector, so when evil comes against you, there’s no need to fight. Be still and know that your Creator is in control. Our own defense or vindication does not hold a candle to what Christ can do for us. So when evil tries to take, remember who redeems and what He was decided cannot be changed.
Are you remaining still and allowing God to work in your life?
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1Don’t brag about tomorrow, since you don’t know what the day will bring.
2Let someone else praise you, not your own mouth— a stranger, not your own lips.
3A stone is heavy and sand is weighty, but the resentment caused by a fool is even heavier.
4Anger is cruel, and wrath is like a flood, but jealousy is even more dangerous.
5An open rebuke is better than hidden love!
6Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.
7A person who is full refuses honey, but even bitter food tastes sweet to the hungry.
8A person who strays from home is like a bird that strays from its nest.
9The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.
10Never abandon a friend— either yours or your father’s. When disaster strikes, you won’t have to ask your brother for assistance. It’s better to go to a neighbor than to a brother who lives far away.
11Be wise, my child, and make my heart glad. Then I will be able to answer my critics.
12A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.
13Get security from someone who guarantees a stranger’s debt. Get a deposit if he does it for foreigners.
14A loud and cheerful greeting early in the morning will be taken as a curse!
15A quarrelsome wife is as annoying as constant dripping on a rainy day.
16Stopping her complaints is like trying to stop the wind or trying to hold something with greased hands.
17As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.
18As workers who tend a fig tree are allowed to eat the fruit, so workers who protect their employer’s interests will be rewarded.
19As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person.
20Just as Death and Destruction are never satisfied, so human desire is never satisfied.
21Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but a person is tested by being praised.
22You cannot separate fools from their foolishness, even though you grind them like grain with mortar and pestle.
23Know the state of your flocks, and put your heart into caring for your herds,
24for riches don’t last forever, and the crown might not be passed to the next generation.
25After the hay is harvested and the new crop appears and the mountain grasses are gathered in,
26your sheep will provide wool for clothing, and your goats will provide the price of a field.
27And you will have enough goats’ milk for yourself, your family, and your servant girls.
“It’s difficult to walk with Christ with tons of baggage so leave behind the unnecessary items to lighten the load.”~TB
Unforgiveness and internalized trauma can cloud your mind, allowing the opposition to use these painful experiences to cloud your judgment and relationship with Christ. Friends, life is tough, and no one walks away unscathed. So when bad things happen, as they will, remember that God is in control and will use any situation for good. While going through trials and tribulations, take a step back, calm yourself and remember His goodness.
When you’re traveling with God, carry on with a spirit of gratitude, mercy, and joy, so that in whatever you endure, you can see God’s hand in your situation. The devil will try and get you to turn your back on the Truth— God’s Victory is already sealed. The worst he can only do is ruffle your feathers, and friends only you can allow the evil one to get under your skin. So in times of struggle, frustration, and discouragement, chuck your bags and leave only with the carry-on items that bring you closer to God.
What baggage are you holding onto that’s slowing down your walk with Christ?
1Honor is no more associated with fools than snow with summer or rain with harvest.
2Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an undeserved curse will not land on its intended victim.
3Guide a horse with a whip, a donkey with a bridle, and a fool with a rod to his back!
4Don’t answer the foolish arguments of fools, or you will become as foolish as they are.
5Be sure to answer the foolish arguments of fools, or they will become wise in their own estimation.
6Trusting a fool to convey a message is like cutting off one’s feet or drinking poison!
7A proverb in the mouth of a fool is as useless as a paralyzed leg.
8Honoring a fool is as foolish as tying a stone to a slingshot.
9A proverb in the mouth of a fool is like a thorny branch brandished by a drunk.
10An employer who hires a fool or a bystander is like an archer who shoots at random.
11As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness.
12There is more hope for fools than for people who think they are wise.
13The lazy person claims, “There’s a lion on the road! Yes, I’m sure there’s a lion out there!”
14As a door swings back and forth on its hinges, so the lazy person turns over in bed.
15Lazy people take food in their hand but don’t even lift it to their mouth.
16Lazy people consider themselves smarter than seven wise counselors.
17Interfering in someone else’s argument is as foolish as yanking a dog’s ears.
18Just as damaging as a madman shooting a deadly weapon
19is someone who lies to a friend and then says, “I was only joking.”
20Fire goes out without wood, and quarrels disappear when gossip stops.
21A quarrelsome person starts fights as easily as hot embers light charcoal or fire lights wood.
22Rumors are dainty morsels that sink deep into one’s heart.
23Smooth words may hide a wicked heart, just as a pretty glaze covers a clay pot.
24People may cover their hatred with pleasant words, but they’re deceiving you.
25They pretend to be kind, but don’t believe them. Their hearts are full of many evils.
26While their hatred may be concealed by trickery, their wrongdoing will be exposed in public.
27If you set a trap for others, you will get caught in it yourself. If you roll a boulder down on others, it will crush you instead.
28A lying tongue hates its victims, and flattering words cause ruin