Lesson 18

Proverbs does not just talk about our relationship with God and how all this wisdom will effect it.  Though every word’s end result is that.  Most of the advice passed on deals with everyday life.

Take the next verses in 3:27-28

Do not withhold good from those who deserve it,
when it is in your power to act.

Do not say to your neighbor,
“Come back later; I’ll give it tomorrow”—
when you now have it with you. (NIV)

This is a common sense approach to dealing with others.  If someone comes to you and needs to borrow your drill, why would you make them wait until tomorrow?  Do you not have it with you?  Ok, that can be accepted.  But if that drill is in the garage and you want to finish your TV show, then that is a different matter.  We are to never withhold something someone needs just because it is not convenient for us.  And we do it all the time.  That has become the accepted practice in our culture today.  That has become what we all do.  But does it make it right?  Not according to this.

Have you noticed how the relationship of neighbors is almost non-existent?  Why is that?  Could be that some have been treated bad by others.  Could be once again the way our culture is shaping our communities.  How can we treat our neighbors better when we don’t know them that well?  Be observant.  If you notice that he hasn’t taken the trash can up from the curb, don’t ask questions.  Don’t report him.  Take it up for him.

We had a time where we once lived where I was expecting my third child and my husband ended up in the hospital with pneumonia.  It was hard working full time, taking care of two small kids, a sick husband, and the house.  I didn’t get to the trash for a couple of days.  The next think I know our closest neighbor met my husband on the first day he was able to venture out and began berating him for not taking the trash to the curb during the last week for pick up.  When my husband could get a word in, he tried to explain to him that he had been laid up and his wife could not have managed that late in the pregnancy.  The neighbor said that that was just excuses and if it happened again the police would be called.  Whatever happened to neighborly love?  Where was the act of kindness and mercy?

How do you treat your neighbors?  Complain at everything they do?  Or try to understand their actions so that you might be able to help if the Lord called you to?