Proverbs 18:14

ESV A man’s spirit will endure sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?
NIV The human spirit can endure in sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?
NASB The spirit of a person can endure his sickness, But as for a broken spirit, who can endure it?
CSB A person's spirit can endure sickness, but who can survive a broken spirit?
NLT The human spirit can endure a sick body, but who can bear a crushed spirit?
KJV The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?

What does Proverbs 18:14 mean?

Life holds many challenges. Even those who place their faith in Christ are subject to hardships (John 16:33). Trials flare up unexpectedly and test one's faith. This proverb points out the absolute priority of attitude, not circumstances, in determining a person's response to such difficulties. Hard times, disaster, setbacks, insults, illness, tragedy, and persecution can be endured through a positive attitude and a strong faith. That doesn't mean pretending to be happy, nor does it mean assuming things will improve simply because one is optimistic. Yet trust in Christ despite struggles makes such experiences easier to bear. Negative attitudes, weak or absent faith, or pessimism can cause someone to buckle under relatively lesser stress.

It's often said that humanity can endure the loss of anything except "hope," and Scripture echoes that principle (Philippians 4:11–13; 2 Timothy 2:10). This highlights the power of trusting faith in the gospel (Hebrews 6:18–19; 1 Timothy 4:10). Christians can see suffering as temporary, even when it comes in the form of godly discipline. The writer of Hebrews writes that even Christians experiencing correction should "lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees" (Hebrews 12:12).

Christian believers can have a positive attitude even when facing trials, knowing "that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those are called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28). Instead of being weighed down by anxieties, the Christian can fully rely on God, knowing He cares (1 Peter 5:7). An example of a positive attitude and a strong faith is seen in Peter. When he was in prison, heavily guarded and awaiting execution, he slept so soundly that an angel had to poke him in the ribs to wake him up (Acts 12:7) before leading him out of the prison.
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