“Whoever goes hunting for what is right and kind finds life itself—glorious life!” Proverbs 21:21
The hunt goes on. Always. But it is largely unsuccessful. Yet how many struggle and suffer and never make much of anything? Maybe you tried business, or sport or celebrity-status, or some branch of money-making…. and even the success you attained is so transient that it makes the pursuit a rather hollow thing.
Well, it’s a profound relief to me that no human life need be a failure.
No human life, that is, that has tuned in to God. And in that search, the higher our aim the more likely we are to reach our mark! If you settle for little, then even that little eludes your grasp, but “Whoever goes hunting for what is right and kind finds life itself—glorious life!”
This is the real quest, after all. How could anything else compare to it? The writer pins it down to two simple words, but don’t imagine that those words are lightweight or negligible. The words are “right and kind.”
In the older versions they are translated “righteousness and mercy” and compass the whole scope of having integrity, honesty and straight-dealing in all our relations, and being energised by a spirit of kindness toward all with whom we have to do.
Sometimes people who are rigorously straight with you are not that kind, and sometimes kind people blur the edges of moral uprightness. The verse says: Go after both.
That’s exactly how Jesus came across to the people around him: utterly, fearlessly straight, and yet heart-breakingly kind. He thus manifested the heart of Father God, and the twin sides of the coin, of justice and love.
And these are the very attributes that are expressed in the cross itself: the justice of God and the love of God.
So if I hunt what is right and what is kind, I seek God Himself. Nothing less.
And this life is described as “glorious.” All of a sudden, like the sun rising on a new day, everything takes on a new dimension. Everything shines with new possibilities. I am not merely existing or trying to succeed for myself in some confused way, but living out of gratitude and the favour of a Father who loves me, a Son who died for me, a Spirit who empowers me. Glorious life.
What does this hunting life look like? It starts with knowing you are accepted and loved. As Brennan Manning put it, “My deepest awareness of myself is that I am deeply loved by Jesus Christ and I have done nothing to earn it or deserve it.”
It works out into purity of heart and life – and deliverance from the power and bondage of sin, of the evil forces which stir within and which play around our minds.It creates the consequences of a course of honesty and integrity in our relationships. It means walking along a path which brings no regrets and no reproaches.
It means fostering a heart of sheer kindness; learning to play second fiddle, putting our own personal tastes and preferences after the wants and well-being of friends and fellows; taking a stand with those who have no standing; giving money away a bit more!
And that is the success story that God has planned for you.