How to Treat Your Neighbors

When Sir Winston Churchill resigned as prime minister of Great Britain in 1955, it was thought that age and the desire to permit Sir Anthony Eden greater latitude in the forthcoming elections were the reasons. And they were. But there was one more. The 81year-old statesman had ma … More

Relationships

Attention is given in this passage to doing good for those whom you have the opportunity and power to do so. The poor and the neighbor are to be the objects of this kind of good neighbor policy. From these verses we can see three groups of relationships with others and how to be good stewards of these opportunities.

  1. Do not withhold good from those who deserve it. In other words don’t hold back paying bills or paying a hired laborer or being generous to the poor or withhold good from its owners (vv. 27-28).
  2. Do not harm a neighbor. This violates his trust and accusing him falsely violates the ninth commandment. (Exodus 20:16) (vv. 29-30).
  3. Do not envy a violent man. Some people see the money or pleasure that such a man enjoys but God sees his perverse ways. Whereas the upright enjoy fellowship with God (vv. 31-32).

In conclusion the wise, humble, upright or righteous are honored but the fools are shamed. It is a great honor to belong to the house of God. However God’s curse dwells in the house of the wicked.  Shame lifts the scorner up; and as he rises in his shame, God sweeps him with scorn off the stage of human history and into eternal separation from God and into an eternal separation from God in Hell. This is the promotion of fools.

Application

I need to look for someone that I can do good to. Maybe I can help someone who has a need. Or maybe I can thank someone who has done good to me. Or perhaps I could pay a debt I owe to someone. I need to make a habit of not owing anyone anything but love. (Rom. 13:8)

Proverbs 3:27-35 (English Standard Version)

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. Do not say to your neighbor, "Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it"--when you have it with you. Do not plan evil against your neighbor, who dwells trustingly beside you. Do not contend with a man for no reason, when he has done you no harm. Do not envy a man of violence and do not choose any of his ways, for the devious person is an abomination to the LORD, but the upright are in his confidence. The LORD's curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the dwelling of the righteous. Toward the scorners he is scornful, but to the humble he gives favor. The wise will inherit honor, but fools get disgrace.

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