A Heart at Peace

Yael Eckstein  |  June 14, 2024

Earth in the shape of a heart

A heart at peace gives life to the body,
    but envy rots the bones
. — Proverbs 14:30

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.

It could be your neighbor’s new car, or maybe it was your fifth-grade teacher praising your best friend instead of you. There are so many scenarios that can catch us off-guard and bring out one of the ugliest traits to which we are all susceptible—jealousy.

In Proverbs, we learn that “envy rots the bones.” Whoever came up with the expression “eat your heart out” in order to provoke jealousy was relaying a truth. Jealousy destroys us from the inside out.

But there is a flipside to self-defeating jealousy. The very same verse begins, “A heart at peace gives life to the body.” Literally translated from the original Hebrew, “a heart at peace” is called “a healing heart.” The Jewish sages explained that a healing heart is a soft heart; a heart that accepts and forgives is kind and generous.

A Heart at Peace

A healing heart is the exact opposite of a jealous heart. A jealous heart wants what others have. A healing heart is happy for others when they succeed. A jealous heart is never satisfied. A healing heart is always content. A jealous heart is focused on its own personal gain. A healing heart looks out for the well-being of others.

Yet, for all that a jealous person does to better his own life, he only brings ruin upon himself. In contrast, a kind, content, and generous person will bring peace and healing to himself and to others. Someone with such a positive and peaceful attitude allows the body to function properly while spreading peace and health to those with whom they interact.

Deuteronomy 30:19 implores us to “choose life.” We can choose to have a peaceful heart instead of a jealous one, and when we do, we affirm our choice to live, to love, and to lead joyful lives.

Your Turn:

How might you nurture a healing heart and bring more peace to your life today?