Category Archives: Friendship

Class Warfare Is Unbiblical

The rich and poor meet together: the LORD is the maker of them all. – Proverbs 22:2

It’s a growing trend in American politics, and it’s common around the world. So many people want to play one class of people against another.

Yet, if we were to look to biblical principles for our guide (like the Founding Fathers in America did), we would see that the act of playing one group of people – particularly the poor against the rich – promotes the rebellion of man against his Sovereign God.

There will always be poor people – always. Even Jesus said so (Matt. 26:11).

There will always be people with more than someone else – always.

But God is the maker of them all.

Until we can come to terms with the truth of Proverbs 22:2, there will always be those who play the class-warfare card to their advantage, not ours.

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Worms Need a Savior, Too

Proverbs 28:24

“Whoso robbeth his father or his mother, and saith, It is no transgression; the same is the companion of a destroyer.”

We All Do It

There are many people in the world that call right “wrong,” and wrong “right.” As a matter of fact, we all probably do it, and a lot more than we think.

When is the last time you broke the law and sped down the highway? Did you justify your actions with something like, “They should have never made the speed limit that low.” When is the last time you watched a rated-R movie and condoned the sex or violence as “art” or “entertainment”? Does Philippians 4:8 (whatsoever things are pure…think on these things) ever cross your mind?

So, before we read the above proverb with too much indignation, let us first examine our own actions.

Friends of Murderers 

But before we get all depressed and feel like we have no moral high ground, let’s get back to the message of the proverb at hand. Simply put, the one who steals from his own mother and father lives in the gutter of humanity.

I personally like the way the New Living Translation deals with this proverb: “Anyone who steals from his father and mother and says, “What’s wrong with that?” is no better than a murderer.” That’s right, the one who steals from his parents is no better than a murderer. Pretty harsh, isn’t it?

Oh, but wait! What does the Bible say in 1 John 3:15? It says: “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer…” A murderer! Seriously, I can’t stand the scum who would rob his parents and say, “No big deal.” That kind of person needs to be dealt with in the harshest manner. But then again, what he really needs is a Savior.

Alas! and did my Savior bleed?
And did my Sov’reign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For such a worm as I? 
 – Isaac Watts

Wake Up, Sleepy Head!

Proverbs 27:14

“He that blesseth his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it shall be counted a curse to him.”
“A loud and cheerful greeting early in the morning will be taken as a curse!” – NLT
Wake Up!

Have you ever been fast asleep, dreaming of wonderful, happy times, then harshly brought back to consciousness by the loud, obnoxious, startling voice of an overly-cheerful, early-rising friend? Did you want to throw a heavy boot at his head?

There is nothing too spiritual about this proverb, in my opinion. It is not much more  than a warning to the early risers in the world. Those who scare people with a loud, “Good morning!” or “Wake up! It’s a beautiful day!” run the risk of serious injury, or at least being cursed.

Friendly Intentions

The point that Solomon is trying to make in this proverb is that even though one may have his friend’s best interests at heart, doing a good deed in the wrong manner may harm a relationship, not bless it.

In reality, a true friend should know another well enough to understand what will and will not offend. A real friend would know better than to storm into a deep sleeper’s room and scream out, “Time to wake up!” Even a happy, early riser should know better than to expect much movement from a friend who must have a cup of coffee before opening his eyes.

So, before you go out and try to do something “nice” for someone else, make sure you are not overstepping any boundaries. If you don’t use wisdom, what you intend for good might become a wake up call for you.


Forever Family

Proverbs 27:10.

“Thine own friend, and thy father’s friend, forsake not; neither go into thy brother’s house in the day of thy calamity: for better is a neighbour that is near than a brother far off.” (KJV).

Never Abandon a Friend:

It’s unfortunate that we’re living in a world today where people don’t value friendships like they once did. Ours is a throwaway society where – if people get upset, hurt or offended – they abandon friendships. One of the biggest signs of our times is the fact that there is even a button on the social networking site Facebook where you can unfriend people!

In another Proverb, Solomon writes that “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (17:17) and “There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (18:24). Ultimately, I believe those verses best describe our friendship with Jesus, but they are also an example for us to follow: to love at all times, to help people in their day of adversity, and to stick closer than a brother.

When Things Get Rough:

The Hebrew word eyd that is translated as calamity here means distress, burden or calamity. It is also translated in other versions of the Bible as “disaster”, “in your time of need” and “when things get rough” (The Message). In other words, when life happens! We all have days like that – like over a month ago when my oldest son Caleb was in a car accident. He and three of his football teammates were in a terrible collision that resulted in all of them being taken to the hospital. One of them had a concussion. Another one broke his nose. I thank the Lord that he and his friends are alive and recovering nicely. However, a month later and we are still working things out with our auto insurance company. The day of calamity, indeed!

Solomon gives us this advice for what to do in the day of calamity: Go to a friend for help. This is why it’s important that we never abandon friends, because we never know when we will need a helping hand. In the New Testament, over and over again we are encouraged to bear one another’s burdens, or share each other’s troubles and problems (Galatians 6:2). It is important though that as much as we should be willing to help others, we also need to learn how to ask people for help when we are in need as well.

We are Family:

I thank God for the church. The church is the family of God, and the Bible tells us that God sets the solitary in families. Church is a place where we can love and care for one another, pray for one another, encourage one another, and help each other.

If you don’t attend a local church, I want to encourage you to find a good Bible-believing church in your community and get involved. You will find support, help and hope there! And if you do attend a church, be faithfully committed to being a part of the body of believers there. Even though you might be doing well and feel like you don’t need them, maybe someone there needs what you have to give. We are family!


Happy Songs Not Allowed

Proverbs 25:20

“As he that taketh away a garment in cold weather, and as vinegar upon nitre, so is he that singeth songs to an heavy heart.”

Country Songs

banjoConsidering how I was born and “raised” in Tennessee, I know a little about country music. Believe it or not, I have written a country song (to prove I could), played and recorded music in Nashville, and even toured Brenda Lee‘s house when I was a kid (I helped her daughters with a lemonade stand).

Country music (at least the stuff before Kid Rock) was earthy, blue-collar music that spoke of real life, or at least what was left of it after one spent too much time hunting, fishing, or drinking in a bar. The lyrics were usually sad, depressing, and great reasons to stay drunk. For example…

“Hunting Dear”

I came home late from hunting deer / My wife drank all my favorite beer / And then before the night was even done / My fishing poles were broke in two / And as she said, “I’m gone – we’re through / She took my dog, my truck, and my gun!

So I’ll walk down to the bar / I can stumble along that far / A country boy don’t need a cheetn’ girl / I’ll drink away my pain / Till my dog comes home again / Then we’ll both go out together…huntin’ dear.

– by Anthony Baker (just now)

Heavy Hearts

The reason why country music is so loved is the same reason the blues are so popular: heavy, broken hearts. Some say it’s impossible to really play the blues if you’ve never been heartbroken. I believe it.

I don’t know what version of country or blues Solomon had playing in his chariot, but he evidently understood that people with broken or heavy hearts hate to hear happy songs. He implied that playing cheerful music for a heavy heart is about as smart as taking one’s coat off in cold weather, or pouring vinegar on soda.

It’s Like This…

Imagine the feeling of already being chilled, but then having your coat taken away. It’s like going from bad to worse. When a person is down and depressed the last thing he really wants to hear at the moment is, “I am happy; you can be too!” Saying (or singing) that just makes the cold even colder.

The word nitre comes from the Hebrew word נֶתֶר (nether), which is what we would recognize, today, as carbonate of soda. Have you ever seen what happens when you pour vinegar on baking soda?  Not only does the soda become worthless for cleaning, but it will explode! That’s what can happen when a sad person hears a happy song.

Just Listen

In reality, besides listening to country music or the blues, the one with a heavy heart needs someone to listen, to nod a head, and be a friend. Singing a happy song to a hurting friend, although well-meaning, may seem like you don’t care, or worse, like you haven’t heard.

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities…” – Hebrews 4:15

Sometimes the best encouragement for a hurting friend or loved one is to cry along with them. That’s one reason why Jesus came.


Get Out!

Proverbs 25:17

“Withdraw thy foot from thy neighbour’s house; lest he be weary of thee, and so hate thee.”

“Let’s Go to Bed…”

My mom and dad used to have some friends that we visited a lot. One time, after staying late watching television (we didn’t have one at the time), the man of the house stretched…yawned…then said to his wife:

“Honey, let’s go to bed so these people can go home.”

What a nice way to tell your friends to leave! Talk about shifting the blame, huh? It’s like saying: “These nice people feel obligated to stay here because we are awake. They must be tired of our company by now, so why not give them a way out?” In reality, it was a humorous way of telling someone “go home.”

Lingering Guests

Every once in a while people lose the ability to determine when a party is over. Some people, because of a host’s hospitality, feel they are more wanted, more part of the family, than they actually are. These people for get that the host has limited resources, both in food and patience.

Even those of us with close, intimate friends have times when we want to be alone. Good friends recognize this and are careful not to wear out their welcome. Selfish friends invite themselves over to ever family dinner, every game night, every outing, and never seem to get the message. When someone suggests going to bed so they can leave, they just say, “No problem, I’ll sleep on the couch.”

Loving others requires us to respect them, so be a good guest and a respectful friend. 


I Did It My Way

Proverbs 23:9 

Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.

All of us fall into ‘the fool who doesn’t listen’ category from time to time. One example that comes to mind is of Martin, a fellow cadet on my second trip to sea. Martin was a first tripper and all seafarers are aware that first trippers know nothing. Hence the saying ‘only first trippers and seagulls sit on a ship’s rails!’

Mart154Martin was an intelligent but unconventional young man, with an unusual upbringing. This included time spent growing up as a missionary kid out in the bush in Kenya, followed by a boarding school education back in England, while his parents continued to serve in Africa. We hit it off straight away. Martin was a couple of years older than me, but theoretically I was the senior cadet having served longer at sea. Friendship and length of sea time did not mean that Martin listened to me. In fact, his failure to listen meant that we both regularly got into trouble with the chief officer (otherwise known as the mate) and even the captain on occasions. Three incidents in particular spring to mind:

1. When we were told to paint the emergency fire pump Martin thought it would look better in rainbow colors. I told him the mate would not like it. Martin didn’t listen and we ended up repainting the fire pump. In our own time.

2. When given the task of repairing the canvas lifeboat covers Martin soon got tired of stitching on the patches. He suggested glue. I told him the mate would not like it. He didn’t. He made us stitch around the patches we had glued. In our own time.

3. When presented with numerous flags to wash by hand Martin felt that a spot of bleach might help restore the flags to their former glory. I took a stand on this one and told him that bleach would damage the flags. Martin didn’t listen. I didn’t see him add the bleach but I sure as heck saw the results. So did the captain when we tried to sneak the damaged flags back to the wheelhouse. I still remember the explosion. “YOU DID WHAT! YOU WASHED THE FLAGS IN BLEACH?!!!” The captain’s cap didn’t quite leave his head, but as a small man he was prone to jumping up and down a lot when he lost his temper.

Martin had a knack of thinking up shortcuts. No amount of advice would deter him from taking action that others were convinced was foolish. I guess the best defense that Martin had was his youth, but many of us left youth behind many years ago yet still fail to heed a voice of wisdom, or worse the voice of God. It is no excuse to say we didn’t hear, we didn’t understand, or we thought that our way was better. When God speaks we need to listen. Carefully. Then we need to do what He says, when He says, and how He says. 


Trouble’s Not My Friend

Proverbs 22:24-25

Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.

Just Mad

At first glance it might seem like “angry” would be self-explanatory. We’ve all seen someone throw a tantrum. We’ve all gotten furious over something. There’s nothing unusual about losing one’s temper once in a while. But when Solomon advises us to stay away from an angry or furious man, he is not referring to a man who throws his popcorn when his favorite team loses the championship in the last second of the game. We’ve all done that…right?

No, this proverb is talking about people who are always angry, always furious, always upset over something. It’s a warning to stay away from people like that, unless, of course, you want to start acting just like them.

Contagious Anger

  • Women-haters. Hang around these guys very long and you’ll never find love. However, you could start a club.
  • Disgruntled employees. Talk about angry! They make the water in the water cooler boil. Unfortunately, those who listen to them too long tend to overlook the blessing of being employed and end up out of work.
  • Bitter wives and jilted lovers. Talk about furious! Hide all sharp objects and weapons of any kind when you’re in their presence unless you want to get hurt. Better yet, don’t listen to them for too long or you might end up being  recruited to exact their revenge.
  • Political conspiracy theorists. They mean well, but they’re not well. They see grander schemes than actually exist and draw others into their paranoia.
  • Church gossips. They’re typically angry because things aren’t going their way. They look for ways to tear down others while they sap the joy and faith out of you. Before long you become one of them.

Why be like the angry and furious man? Is not God in control? Prolonged anger signifies a heart problem fueled by selfish demands, so is it worth a snare to the soul?

Avoid Trouble

The next time Mr. Trouble comes around looking for a companion, politely excuse yourself; he’s not your friend.

Rather, make Jesus your friend; He is gentle and lowly of heart. Instead of a snare, He will give rest to your soul (Matthew 11:29).


Friend of the King

Proverbs 22:11

11 He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend.
11 One who loves a pure heart and who speaks with grace will have the king for a friend. (NIV)

God does not change

People say the Old Testament is no longer necessary, because we have the New Testament with the Gospels and the Apostolic letters.

However, passages like this merely demonstrate that God has not changed over the millennia or between the Testaments. In fact, it was Jesus who said this during His Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Essentially, if we love the goodness found in people and seek it within ourselves, and if we show grace and mercy to others, we will see God face to face one day.

We just need to remember where this purity and grace comes from:

14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.
John 15:14-17, NIV

Loving Lord, create in us a pure heart and fill us with Your grace, that we may love purity in and show grace to all others.


Evil Neighbors

Proverbs 21:10

10 The soul of the wicked desireth evil: his neighbour findeth no favour in his eyes.
10 The wicked crave evil; their neighbors get no mercy from them. (NIV)

Wild Neighbors

Several years ago my parents bought their first house. By this time, we were a fairly good Christians, and we were looking forward to meeting new neighbors.

One of our next door neighbors proved more difficult to know. Most weekends they would have loud, wild parties with drugs and alcohol; both the parents and the daughter would take turns throwing these parties. They would let their lawn grow wild. Even their dog frequently escaped and ran wild around the neighborhood.

No matter what we said or how many times the authorities were called, they persisted in their wild behavior. They had no concern about their neighbors being kept up all night, having to look at their uncared-for property, and dealing with their dog.

Two Paths

This verse tells us one thing: it is not good to pursue evil and not care about others. Not only will others not like us, but our life may be more bitter and difficult than we might care to admit.

However, the Bible tells us another thing, something my parents have lived out well: no matter how evil our neighbors may be, we must still love them.

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Galatians 5:14

An evil neighbor is not a reason to be evil to others, even to those who are evil to us. Instead, we must rise to God’s standard, and we must give love and mercy where we receive evil and no mercy.

Good Lord, keep us from the evil we are so apt to commit against each other. Help us to grow in Your love and mercy toward others.