I was reading Proverbs this morning and a verse jumped out at me in a new way. (Don’t you just love when that happens?) Proverbs 27:7 reads, “A satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb, but to a hungry soul, every bitter thing is sweet.”
There are two pieces of this verse I’d like to delve into. The first is that, to a hungry soul, every bitter thing is sweet. You’ve probably been out on a really hot day, walking around or perhaps doing yard work. I remember the 100-degree summers in northern Illinois and doing two paper routes in the afternoons. Sometimes, one of my customers would offer me a soda and it was the sweetest, most refreshing thing I’ve ever drank.
People are like that where their happiness is concerned, too. No drug addict thinks that cocaine is a health enhancer. Nobody who sleeps around thinks herpes would be a wonderful thing to catch. People do these things because they’re desperate for a pick-me-up. They know the risks and still engage in these activities because they’re longing for something to make them feel better.
Too often, those of us who have stayed away from these vices tend to judge those who have fallen into them. I’ve never tried illegal drugs, never had a gambling addiction, and I waited until I was married to have sex. None of that gives me the right, though, to judge those who haven’t lived as I have. I’ve sinned in other areas, and all sins are enough to condemn the sinner to hell. If anything, my heart should go out to these people because they’re looking for an answer in the syringe or bottle or between the sheets.
The next time you see someone who’s homeless, who came to your country illegally, who cheats on their spouse, who treats you poorly, who sins in any way, try to see the hurt and the need that are driving the sin. That person, regardless of what they’ve done, is someone thought valuable enough that He offered His life to save their soul. That person, no matter how they treat you, is someone God loves passionately. Just as you justify the reasons for your own sin, they justify theirs. Look behind the mask and see if you can help the hungry person underneath.
I’ll discuss the second part next time.