Seeing the Good in OthersFebruary 12, 2021 - 12:00 am
“Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you;
rebuke the wise and they will love you” — Proverbs 9:8
We continue with devotional thoughts from the Book of Proverbs every Friday. One of the 11 books in the Torah known as the Ketuvim, Hebrew for “writings,” Proverbs is part of the “wisdom tradition,” which also includes Job and Ecclesiastes.
One day when I was four years old, I was standing outside watching my sisters ride their bikes when my father turned to me and said, “Yael, you can do it, too! You are ready to ride.” I remember thinking that this was a very big deal. To my four-year-old mind, riding a two-wheeler would change me from a little kid to a big kid. I knew that my father believed I could do it, so I felt ready for it.
My father held onto the back of my seat and ran with me as I peddled like crazy. When we went around the block a second time, he let go and I kept going without realizing that I was riding on my own. A few moments later, when I realized that my father had let go, I panicked and crashed into a bunch of bushes.
I felt so badly that I had fallen down, but my father was smiling. He hugged me and told me how proud he was that I rode on my own on my first try. With my father’s encouragement and knowing that he still believed in me, I was able to get back on the bike and practice until I was able to do what my father knew I could do all along.
That experience taught me many things, one of which is how important it is for people to know that someone believes in them.
In Proverbs 9:8 we read, “Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you; rebuke the wise and they will love you.” The Jewish sages suggest a beautiful way to understand this verse: If we relate to a person as though he or she is a worthless sinner, that person will shut us out and dismiss any of our advice. But when we see the good in a person and treat them as smart, capable individuals, our advice is well received. When people feel loved, valued, and supported, they are open to guidance and can accomplish great things.
If we truly want to help someone become better, we have to see the best in them. When we see the good in someone, we bring out the good in that person. Everyone needs someone who believes in them — let that person be you.
Your turn: Think of someone who could use some encouragement and let them know how much you believe in them. See how they respond!