A Discussion of Community Relationships

A British publication once offered a prize for the best definition of a friend. Among the thousands of answers received were the following: “One who multiplies joys, divides grief, and whose honesty is inviolable.” “One who understands our silence.” “A vo … More

Honesty

This passage discusses community relationships as it talks about one’s neighbor (vv. 9, 12), the city (vv. 10-11), a gossip group (v. 13), advisers for a nation (v. 14) and a consigner (v. 15). When God blesses his people, their city prospers, but deceitful liars can destroy a city (v. 11). It’s stupid to say bad things about your neighbors (v. 12). If you are sensible, you will keep quiet. If a person is overtaken in a fault we are to lovingly admonish him in private and not go talking to everyone else about him (v. 13). “Brethren if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye who are spiritual restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted” (Galatians 6:1). By acting in accordance with the Word of God (Matt. 18:15) much shame and misery will be spared innocent persons, and many wandering ones recovered who are often driven deeper into sin.

To depend entirely upon one’s own judgment is very foolish  (v. 14). Even the wisest and godliest is subject to blunders and errors of discernment. A wise person is open to other’s opinions and counsel. In fact, without such counsel, he may make some very serious mistakes.

It’s a dangerous thing to guarantee payment for someone’s debts (v. 15). To go surety for a stranger is a very dangerous thing. Surety is to stand good for another man’s debt when he can’t or doesn’t pay. These words were written to warn men of what is still a very common ground for failure and ruin in business life.

Application

Suppose someone we know very well is accused of a shady business deal with one of our unsaved neighbors. What should I do? It would be good to go to a concordance and look up words on honesty. Then I can explain to my family how important it is that we are always completely honest in all our dealings with others.

Proverbs 11:12-15 (English Standard Version)

Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent. Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered. Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety. Whoever puts up security for a stranger will surely suffer harm, but he who hates striking hands in pledge is secure.

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