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  • Dr. Stieglitz

Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 17:19

"He who loves transgression loves strife; he who raises his door seeks destruction"

This is one of those verses of understanding. This proverb connects the dots on a few things that don't seem to be related. Solomon first tells us that there is a connection between going outside of the Ten Commandments to accomplish something and lots of discord, arguments, and fights. These two things go together even though it is possible to conceive of people who gain what they want through cheating, stealing, lying, illicit sex, anger, violence, covetousness, and blasphemy and still have a peaceful life with great relationships with people. What you are imagining is a fantasy that cannot happen in the real world.

Unfortunately, this is the world of television and movies. People who steal, lie, cheat, and are unfaithful in one part of their life are calm and caring people in another area of their life. It makes it seem as though this were really possible. Solomon says that it is not possible. It is not possible to have great relationships with the people in your life while you are breaking God's moral code. Strife, bad relationships, divorce, broken partnerships, and family hatred all come with transgression. We are chasing an illusion when we think anything different. But the people of Hollywood do not want to admit that God's moral structure actually is the way things really are. That would mean that sex should be reserved for marriage; that would mean that easy quick money causes more problems than it solves; that would mean that gaining by violence means you lose precious relationships and your own soul. Wouldn’t it be great if at the end of every program it showed what happens to people who are immoral or thieves or liars or blasphemous? Wouldn’t it be great if the real consequences of sinful and selfish actions were pointed out?

This is the reason I constantly clip out newspaper articles that show the real consequences of people’s lack of morality: jail, death, shame, guilt, debt, divorce, loneliness, fear, bitterness, etc.

Solomon is saying that the one follows the other. Do not fall for the lie that you can gain what you want through immorality or amorality and not bring destructive anger, fights, misunderstanding, and conflict to your important relationships. If you do the one, you will get the second. Be smart and abandon the path of the sinner. We all know that relational wealth is what we really want. We want people who know us to love and respect us. We want people who want us to love them.

It is easy to fall for the temptation that you can cut corners to gain the stuff you want and not affect your relationships.

Solomon also says that the one who raises his door seeks destruction. This is another one of these connected things that don't seem connected. In fact, these two seem completely disconnected.

There are two possible meanings for the idea of raising one's door. Raising one's door can either mean showing off through making a big door in an ostentatious show of how important you think you are, or raising one's door can mean that one is raising the wall around one's home for secrecy sake or protection sake. The second of these two – while plausible – is not supported by any other verses or connections. The first idea seems to be the meaning. The person who becomes self-focused and needing to show off how important they are to others is headed toward a come-down.

We see throughout Scripture and life those who stop providing a real service to others and become all about how self-important they are, are about to fall. All of us want, at times, to take stock of our importance; but if that appraisal becomes constant self-focus which turns into constant self-promotion, then destruction is stalking you.

This is a life lesson. What makes a person successful or great is their real service to others. As long as they can keep others as the focus of their work, then their importance can continue to grow because their purpose is bigger than their own self-importance. But as soon as a person starts to believe their own press clippings and has a hard time focusing on serving others in a real way, their changed focus will bring about their downfall.

Are you right now being tempted to take shortcuts in life that you know are wrong? Realize that it will take a big toll in your relationships. How many movie stars and rock stars have solid relationships that last?

Are you complaining that people aren't noticing how important you are and how talented you are? That road leads to destruction.

Remember that your greatness is a result of your real meeting of the needs of others.

Do not allow your focus to shift from helping others to a self-focus, hoping others will notice how important you are.

Until tomorrow,

Gil Stieglitz

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