Tag Archives: relationships

Knowledge Grows In Community

Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge. -Proverbs 23:12, KJV

People wonder why our Western culture is slipping deeper into chaos and hatred.

The short answer is that we largely have given up on listening to instruction and seeking knowledge. We have promoted an individualistic approach to life, that we are each special and can make our own truth. If we just look I side ourselves, they say, we can find real truth.

It has even infiltrated the Church.

In truth, God’s Word tells us that we are all sinners in need of repentance (changing our way of living and thinking), and we need a Savior to help us … according to His standard, not our own.

If you do not have knowledge of the Savior, seek out a friend (like a pastor or another devout Christian) who can show you Christ.

If you do not follow the instructions laid out in the Bible for godly living, you need to repent.

If you are unsure of what the instructions mean – or even what they are – start by going to church. We learn to listen to others without injecting our own truth and to interact with others meaningfully.

In fact, go to church. Knowledge grows in community. And God is all about community.


Worshipful Interaction, or Taste and See

The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the Lord hath made even both of them. -Proverbs 20:12, KJV

There are two main things this verse tells us:

  1. We can know the Creator God is watching over us and listening to us, for he created us with the ability interact with our surroundings.
  2. We should be thankful to and give glory to God for our ability to interact with each other, our world, and God.

Please take note of how this has been worded: interact with.

Why?

I can hear the arguments from others, “But what about those who can’t see or hear?” And these arguments can include the question of suffering.

A) We must remember that we live in a fallen world, corrupted and tainted by our sin. Sometimes, people lose some ability to interact in this world, and we have no one to blame but ourselves (humanity, not necessarily the individual, say, the one who was abused).

B) Sometimes God ordains a malady to bring glory to Himself by bringing someone to faith. Look at those Jesus healed during His earthly ministry.

But, again, read the first two points! The fact that we inherently are able to interact with others including our God who knows us, we should be moved to worship!

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Psalm 34:8


Your Position, Thought Out

The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression. –Proverbs 19:11 KJV

For normal, every day people, it is important to remember that most people are acting out of fear. Therefore, do not take attacks (verbal, physical, emotional) personally.

Put yourself in their position, and you might see there is no need to be angry.

If you are unable to change things (politics, entertainment, some circumstances), holding onto pain or offense hurts nobody but you.

Put yourself into a position to change things or avoid them.

If you are a Christian, you must realize that most attacks are either those briefly discussed above or are attacks against the One who lives in you, Jesus.

You are in a position of honor, suffering as your Lord.

Forgive them. You may be the one who wins them to the Lord.


Peace and Strife

Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife. -Proverbs 17:1 KJV

The last time I wrote on this verse, I talked about the families of close friends of ours who had lived with my wife and me.

Once again, I am going to talk about a friend who had lived with us.

This (grown and middle aged) friend had a girlfriend with grown kids of her own. Naturally, he was over at her house regularly. Both of them are devout Christians and attend church regularly.

However, her children pursue very worldly lifestyles, and when living at home were quite selfish, lazy, and confrontational when their wants and needs were not met to their expectations.

Our friend began telling us that he almost hated going over there. Rather, he liked coming into our home, because there was an air of peace that he did not feel when her kids were around.

We did not always have the greatest food, but he could sit in peace. We set high expectations with grace, but still with firmness.

Which home describes yours? Is your household one the promotes peace or one full of strife? Do you tolerate worldliness in your home or combat it with biblical teachings?


Be Kind

My wife and I have taught in schools. She has almost only ever taught Kindergarten (about 4 months of not in eight years), and I taught 7th Grade Mathematics and further back in Special Education.

I tell you what, working with a lot of kids can teach a lot about life! Especially how cruel and mean people can be.

A recent movement in the past few years is called “Be Kind”. The name is pretty self explanatory, and they do some good work helping teach students to simply be nice to each other.

Proverbs chapter 12 can be summarized this same way: Be Kind.

Think about it: it starts with advice for controlling yourself (discipline, vv. 1-4), transitions through recognizing it starts with our thoughts (vv. 5-8), moves to our actions toward others (including animals! vv. 9-12), and the majority focuses on what we say (vv. 13-26).

Words probably get the most time because of how much we tear each other down with our words. Sometimes it is unintentional.

But we must remember that kindness starts internally, with our thoughts and beliefs. So, to be kind means we start by changing our thinking, and ultimately it happens by trusting in God.

He first showed His kindness by coming to us lowly sinners to reveal truth and die for our forgiveness. The ultimate kindness is leading others to life in Christ.

The path of the righteous is life, and in its pathway there is no death.
Proverbs 12:28


Marriage Advice … for All

Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent.
Proverbs 11:12, ESV

Today happens to be my ninth wedding anniversary.

Any good husband will tell you there is a time when you should just keep your mouth shut and listen to your wife.

Honestly, it is advice that can go both ways. Neither partner should be so prideful as to assume you know everything better than the other. Mutual communication benefits both!

Conversely, it is unwise to speak down to the other. Belittling – literally causing someone’s ideas and character to seem small and meaningless – only creates pain and bitterness. It is no longer a partnership but a tyranny, and even more confusing when both are guilty of this. Whoever belittles attempts to control the other, and this means slavery and problems.

It is best to work together and be willing to hear each other out.

And, yes, I may be talking about married couples, but this advice applies to any relationship, even with strangers.


Love is Forgiveness

Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins. -Proverbs 10:12, KJV

Hatred holds a grudge.

Hatred causes problems for others.

Hatred causes division.

Hatred is taking things into your own hands.

But hatred is not the opposite of love.

The opposite of love is fear.

Fear is often the motivator for everything hatred becomes.

The best remedy comes out of love and is the definition of covering all sins:

Forgiveness.

Forgiveness does not mean forgetting the wrongs.

Forgiveness does not mean trust.

Forgiveness is saying, “I will not let fear control me.”

Forgiveness is saying, “I will not focus on what you did to me.”

Forgiveness is saying, “You are more important than that to me.”

Forgiveness is letting God take the wrong and change your heart. Maybe to change theirs.


Stealing Passions

Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry; But if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold; he shall give all the substance of his house. -Proverbs 6:30‭-‬31, KJV

These two verses are in the midst of a chapter warning against adultery. Therefore, while we could discuss understandable thievery, let us continue only talking about sex.

Stolen fruit

Think about: when committing adultery, that love and passion is stolen from at least one other person (two of both are married). That time together is stealing from time that could be spent with family. Or even God.

The fruit of relationships is love, time, and fellowship, and all of that is taken away because something “feels right.”

We can understand when someone steals for unger, though it is still wrong. Our world tries to argue that if they love each other it is understandable, because they clearly were not having their desires fed at home. (Even though some people have perfectly satisfying relationships yet still “stumble”.)

Paying it back

But does that make it okay?

Look at the marriages that fall apart, the lengthy process of deciding who gets how much of whatever, or the lawsuits that happen.

It literally costs the substance of a household when adulterers are caught stealing these passions.

Adulterated Religion

Misrepresenting God, diluting or misapplying His Word, leading others astray, and otherwise treating others unlovingly is the same as stealing from and committing adultery against God.

We can understand not wanting to offend someone or bringing [temporary] comfort to others, but it is still “stealing from God” by not fulfilling His perfect truth.

And this can lead to Jesus dismissing us later with those feared words, “Depart from me. I never knew you.” (Matthew 7:23)


Debts & Promises

My son, if you become surety for your friend, If you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger, You are snared by the words of your mouth; You are taken by the words of your mouth. So do this, my son, and deliver yourself; For you have come into the hand of your friend: Go and humble yourself; Plead with your friend. Give no sleep to your eyes, Nor slumber to your eyelids. Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, And like a bird from the hand of the fowler.
Proverbs 6:1‭-‬5, NKJV

Co-signed

Have you ever needed to take out a loan or get a service (cable, telephone, electricity, etc.), but your credit was … lacking? You need a co-signer to get that loan or service.

Perhaps you have been on the other side and have been the co-signer. It can be scary either way. I have been on both sides.

I have had to pay debts friends and family could not pay, and sometimes it was a struggle financially.

This could be a lesson on Christ’s sacrifice posting our debt of sin. Instead, this is about seeing how our promises can catch us.

Leaving the Altar

You see, our commitments have effects on others. We promise to pay that bill. We promise to be at that event. We promise to carry our fair share.

And then we don’t.

We put up the strong front and commit to keeping other promises.

Say, tithing.

But Jesus says, “if you bring your gift to the altar, and then remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and first go be reconciled to your brother before returning to offer your gift.” (Matthew 5:23‭-‬24)

In other words, humble yourself, and do what is right.

If as the one who owes, confess your wrong or inability and seek forgiveness. If as the one who is owed, forgive the debt (of the promise, of the burden) and move on (possibly through making a plan or as simply releasing all responsibility).

The big point is to hold onto the relationship above all else.

That is why Jesus sacrificed glory, comfort, and life: to forgive our debts and broken promises to restore the relationship. And He arose to guarentee it for eternity.


A Spicy Ship

Proverbs 31:10, 14

“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. … She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.”

Being Careful

I must be careful, for any time a man writes about his wife he should first consider: what he is about to say…the weather…her mood…her future mood…whether or not she will ever read what he writes…what people will tell her he wrote…and most importantly, has she taken out any new life insurance policies?

King Lemuel was a very fortunate man, much like King Solomon. Both had the luxury of living in a culture that prized such things as goats, flocks of sheep, and merchant’s ships. They thought these things were beautiful and found no difficulty in comparing their wives to them. However, I must be careful when I compare my wife to a heavily-laden wooden hull that creaks, leaks, and has to be patched with tar. I’m better off comparing her hair to a flock of goats, and her teeth to a flock of sheep (Sgs. 4:1-2)!

However, in order to keep with the program, I must find a way to relate to Proverbs 31:14, to share my “thoughts,” and to make an application. Therefore, I will get to the point of what the passage is telling us before I get into trouble.

Spiced Up

The rare and virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 is like the merchant’s ships in that she is always a source of variety. Instead of being content with the same old stuff day after day, this woman is like a merchant’s ship, one that goes out far and wide to find new spices, new colors, and new fragrances to adorn not only herself but to spice up her home.

Most people know how plain and dreary a man’s home can be without a good woman. I was always one who liked white walls, plain dishes, and simple clothes. But when my wife came along, up went color on the walls, color on the table, and color on me (I would have never worn anything but a white or blue shirt under a suit).

Bargains

The woman of this verse is also a bargain shopper. Like the merchant’s ship, she travels far and wide to find the best deals, the ones most advantageous to her family, and always comes back with something to show for her efforts.

Anyone who really knows me could tell you that I hate – I HATE – to negotiate on prices. On the other hand, my wife almost never pays full price for anything. I have literally witnessed her negotiate on an object at a rummage sale when the asking price was only 25 cents! My response was, “Valerie! Pay the man a quarter and let’s go!”

Variety is the spice of life, so they say. If that is true, a good woman brings plenty of flavor to the table.