Do you like honey? Don’t eat too much, or it will make you sick!
–Proverbs 25:16 (NLT)
“Moderation. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.”
American humorist Mark Twain famously quipped: “I never smoke to excess — that is, I smoke in moderation, only one cigar at a time.”
Moderation is avoiding extremes, finding that “sweet spot” for maximum effect and reward. For example, honey is a popular sweetener and science shows it offers many health benefits. However, too much of it, like too much of any food, can make you sick of it…or just plain old sick! Likewise, drinking lots of water is crucial to a healthy lifestyle. However, did you know that drinking too much can cause “water poisoning”? Too much water in the cells, even brain cells, can cause them to swell and trigger confusion, drowsiness, and headaches. (source)
We find the value of moderation among many parts of life:
Moderation in work avoids the extremes of workaholism and laziness.
Moderation in exercise avoids the extremes of overexertion and feebleness.
Moderation in eating avoids the extremes of obesity and anorexia.
Moderation in spending avoids the extremes of poverty and miserliness.
Moderation in religion avoids the extremes of fanaticism and disbelief.
Moderation in education avoids the extremes of being a know-it-all and ignorance.
Moderation in self-esteem avoids the extremes of pride and inferiority complex.
And according to Benjamin Franklin and his 13 virtues, one part of moderation is the need to “forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.” “Forebear” means “to hold oneself back from with effort; to control oneself when provoked.”
As we go through life, there will be many times others will injure us; if not physically, perhaps emotionally, financially, etc. (And if we’re honest with ourselves, we will think of times we have injured others.) The Bible tells us there are times when it’s best to simply choose to overlook an insult and go on with life.
Proverbs 19:11 in the Amplified Bible reads, “Good sense and discretion make a man slow to anger, And it is his honor and glory to overlook a transgression or an offense [without seeking revenge and harboring resentment].”
That verse relates to the saying, “Holding on to anger and resentment is like drinking poison and hoping the other guy gets sick.”
Are there any areas of your life where you feel “out of balance” and you need to move from extremes back toward moderation?
This is Part 9 of a 13-Part series, based on 13 virtues that Benjamin Franklin sought to incorporate into his daily life, each of which has a scriptural basis. Franklin began this system in 1726, when he was incredibly only 20 years old. He realized that, since each year has 52 weeks, one can repeat this series four times annually. A chart like the one Franklin designed to help one mark one’s progress can be found here.