Earlier this month, as we were beginning our journey through Proverbs, my father-in-law’s health deteriorated rapidly until at last he passed away. We knew this day was coming yet somehow it took us completely by surprise. The kids and I quickly hopped a plane to Texas where my husband was already busy helping his mother and siblings make all the necessary arrangements. For the next week we gathered with family and friends to celebrate the life of our father/grandfather. Meals were delivered. The church rallied to provide whatever we needed, including things no one was thinking about like extra toilet paper and paper towels!
Grief, joy, reunion, and close quarters had everyone on edge. Battles were fought or swept under the rug, depending on the moment. Every conceivable relationship came into play as we prayed, cried, and asked for or accepted help. Perhaps this experience, still fresh in my heart as I write this, caused me to pay special attention to all the wisdom available to us as we navigate the sometimes tumultuous road of relationships that make up our lives.
Relating to Society
When it comes to the community, whether it’s your neighbor, the grocer, or a stranger on the street, Solomon recommends integrity.
He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both like an abomination to the Lord.
It is not good to be partial to the wicked or to deprive the righteous of justice.
When it comes to friends, we are cautioned to see beyond the superficial motives,
Wealth brings many new friends, but a poor man is deserted by his friend. Proverbs 19:4
encouraged to seek out that true friendship,
A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24
and of course, there’s that call to integrity again!
Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends. Proverbs 17:9
Relating to Family
Solomon has plenty to say to parents about relating to their children and for spouses relating to one another.
Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers. Proverbs 17:6
He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord. Proverbs 18:22
Discipline your son, for there is hope; do not set your heart on putting him to death. Proverbs 19:18
Relating to the Lord
Most importantly, the Proverbs give us insight into the heart of God. We see in these verses that the integrity, justice, and blessings of family and community are valuable to us because they are at the core of who God is.
Whoever mocks the poor insults his Maker;
he who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished. 17:5
The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
the righteous man runs into it and is safe. 18:10
The fear of the Lord leads to life,
and whoever has it rests satisfied; 19:23
What insight or advice about relationships do you glean from these wise words?