And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh that you bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that your hand would be with me, and that you would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain….”  (1 Chron. 4:10)

How many times have you wanted to bite your tongue and wished you could take back what you said or undo what you have done.  Well there may be some perfect people out there, but most of us would have to admit to it – we have been there!    It’s knowing and accepting our own potential for evil that becomes the road and the schoolroom to our salvation.  Look at Jabez – a name meaning ‘pain’.  His mother said in the previous verse, she named him Jabez because she birthed him in pain.  Most mothers could relate to that statement.

Whether that was the first and only time he brought pain to another human being or just the first of many, Jabez wanted to be different.  He understood his need for change and he knew there was only one way to change.

It is also said of Jabez …he was honorable.  To be honorable one must be honest.  Jabez didn’t ‘pretend’ he was ‘okay’ he knew his basic identity was one that brought pain to himself and to others.   He cried out to God who forgave.  He acknowledged he needed someone outside of himself to do something beyond his power.  Someone who when hurt, would respond in love and mercy, someone with a forgiving heart.  A love so powerful it would change the very root from which he came and cause his sin nature and identity to change.

Jabez’ honesty overcame any false sense of humility.  In this new identity he wanted blessing, he wanted increase, he wanted God’s hand always to be upon him and he wanted to be kept from the evil of causing other people any more pain.   Perhaps this is why Paul wrote as he did to the early church, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphant procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him”   (2 Corinthians 2:14) Having received pain among his fellow believers, Paul knew how giving of the sweet fragrance of forgiving love had brought the increase of all that he was called to be the protection of God’s hand and he knew the deliverance of God’s power.

Today remember the words of Mark Twain  “Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet leaves upon the heal of the one who crushed it”  today be like Christ spread… the fragrance of life.

Further Readings:  1 Chronicles 4; 2 Corinthians 2