LIFE ISSUES FROM PROVERBS
People Management: Developing Healthy Relationships
Jerry A Collins
Ø What guidelines should I have for my friendships?
Ø How does God expect relationships to be in home?
Ø What does fearing God do with our relationship with Him?
Relationships are things we cannot avoid or get away from. We establish some. Others are established from us. And still new ones come into our lives along the way. How does God expect us to manage these relationships in the marketplace, in the home, in our friendships, with those in need and even our relationship with God? Solomon addresses these issues for us throughout his writings of Proverbs. Here he gives us wisdom and understanding as well as insight into how God expects us to manage these relationships so that they bear the ripest fruit possible. We will have them all of our lives and differing ones too. We will glean these insights from the portion of Proverbs attributed as the Proverbs of Solomon 10-22.
1. INSIGHT INTO OUR RELAS AT HOME
Here is a list of these insights with explanations of each:
10:1 Be wise for the benefit of your parents. A wise son is contrasted here with a foolish son; in 13:1 with a mocker and with a foolish man. This wise son is wise since he listens to parents teaching 5:1-2 and brings joy to his father (; , 24; 27:11, 29:3). In contrast a foolish son—a closed mind, stubborn, flippant, coarse—grieves his mother. The idea is that both parents experience either the joy or grief accordingly just as both are involved in teaching. The father is also grieved in other ways (, 25; ) just as the mother is involved in the teaching (1:8; 4:3-4; ). So remember your parents whenever you are making decisions in your lives because those decisions can either bring benefit of grief to them. Another lesson here is that our choices do effect others. The impact of a child’s actions are profound in the lives of loving parents. Don’t live with regret.
12:4 Be a wife who elevates her husband not one who brings decay. This woman is called a virtuous woman or an excellent woman or a noble woman. Her character is such that she is like a crown on her husband’s head. That is, her strength of character makes her husband elevated and honored in the eyes of colleagues, comrades, friends, associates and family. She adds dignity to him. In contrast is the disgraceful wife, the one who shames him, demeans him, decays his bones mentioned several times in Proverbs (3:8; 14:30; 15:30; 16:24; 17:22) suggesting that spiritual and physical health are related in some way. Here her shame gives her husband inner pain bringing rottenness to his bones. Designed to bring into each other’s lives the deepest sense of connectedness, instead it brings decay and demolition. Uphold God’s design for you as a wife to your husband.
2. INSIGHT INTO OUR RELAS WITH THE NEEDY
Here is another list of insights into our rela with those in need:
Be generous to the poor it is like lending to God. Verse 20 refers to people shunning their poor, namely, his neighbor. This is called sin in vs 21. Here we have a contrast in these verses with the social problem of the poor and the fact that many people want to befriend the rich. In 21 contrasts showing hatred or contempt toward one’s poor neighbor with giving kindness. The one is sin ad the other is kind. Be that! Besides the economic frustrations that come with poverty. Poor people suffer socially as people often refuse to associate with them. 19:4, 7 both say the results of wealth and poverty are friends verses lonliness and even the loss of close relatives. says that the result of helping the needy is that God repays the helper. Being kind to the feeble, weak and helpless means going beyond pity. It refers to giving a helping hand, t meeting heir needs in tangible ways. This kind of benevolence is like lending to the Lord as it is an investment God will reward. God honors people’s generosity with His own generosity! Stinginess is never encouraged or rewarded in the Bible. Everything is on the side of benevolence, generosity, magnanimousness. You cannot out-give God and He has a special place in His heart for the poor and the outcast. We are coming upon a season when old scrooge will remind us after he learns his lesson about the need to be continuously generous and helpful to those in need.
Be careful not to ignore the pleas of the poor. In we are warned not to oppress the poor in 17:5 not to mock the poor and here not to ignore the poor. That means do not take advantage of the poor to serve me and my needs in some way since doing so is like sinning against God. That means do not be malicious toward the poor in 17:5 bringing them further ruin since all the poor are made in God’s image as all people are and to mock them like his is to speak against God their maker. That means do not heartlessly ignore the needs of the poor or he will be ignored in his day of calamity 21:13. We will always have the poor with us. God will bless, repay, honor and care for those caring.
3. INSIGHT INTO OUR FRIENDSHIPS
Our friendships can either make us or break us. First, there are relationships we must avoid.
Be aware of
associating with fools, gossips and scoffers. When you associate with fools
it will bring problems. Since your association can influence for good and bad,
it is imperative that you steer clear of being with the foolish for they speak
without knowledge 14:7. They cannot offer the young anything of value. Fools
are thickheaded, dull, harsh and unwillingly to listen to wisdom. Since
gossiping betrays a confidence (
cp ) a person ought to be
careful with whom he shares secrets. Gossiping is condemned in 16:28; 18:8;
26:20, 22. So people who talk too much should be avoided because they will most
likely divulge information that should be kept confidential. Then 22:10 says a
mocker 9:7-8, 12; 31:1; 14:6; 15:12; 19:25, 29; 21:11, 24, 24:9) causes strife
in relationships. This is contention, quarreling and insults. So by removing a
troublemaker, trouble also leaves with him. Just like for Gaveston
during King Edward 11’s reign in Medievel
Be committed to resolving conflict and strengthening good friendships. Starting a quarrel may seem like a minor matter in the beginning. But it often grows beyond control like a small crack in a dam which increases in size until the dam beaks. So the answer is to refuse to let the issue fester—it should instead be dropped before a dispute even starts. In & we learn that both the friend and the brother are to be valued. So true friends, and relatives are faithful in times of adversity as well as prosperity. Do everything you can to strengthen these relationships because the value of a friend is love and help at all times.
1. Increase the quality of our relationships in the family. This is honoring to God and will be for a long time. 2. Increase sensitivity for the poor and determine to meet every need you can. 3. Increase your good relas and remove harmful ones now.