He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour: but a man of understanding holdeth his peace. (Proverbs 11:12KJV)
Proverbs is a great book for helping us learn how to have good relationships with people. Verse 12 tells us that if we are wise, we must learn how to dwell in harmony with our neighbors. We generally think of our neighbors as those that dwell near us. This is true, but the Bible's description of our neighbor reaches further than this.
25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?
27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.
29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?
If we turn to this chapter in the Bible we will read the parable of the Good Samaritan. Jesus answered the question of "Who is my neighbor?" by telling a story about a traveler who was assaulted by thieves and was left wounded and half dead by the road. A priest came by and saw the man, but went on the other side of the road, so he would not have to help the man. Then another religious man, a Levite, came by and did the same thing. Finally, a Samaritan (a man from the region of Samaria) came along, and had compassion on the injured man, and took care of his wounds, and brought him to an inn where he could be cared for. Samaritans were considered outcasts by the Jews, and they wanted nothing to do with them. This same attitude prevailed when these hypocrites saw a man in need. After Jesus related this parable, He then asked his disciples this question:
Luke 10:36-37: "Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that showed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise."
The Old Testament also instructs us with these words concerning our neighbor. These are from the Ten Commandments:
Exodus 20:16-17: "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's."
Proverbs tells us that if we despise our neighbor, we lack wisdom. It also tells us that we should hold our peace if we have a misunderstanding. This simply means not to get angry with our neighbor, but deal with him in love and wisdom. We must not allow covetousness to cause us to desire those things that belong to our neighbor. The Lord has plenty for all of His children, and if we seek Him, He will bless us with our own special blessings.
Prayer for the Day:
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you, Lord for being so loving and kind to us. You are full of mercy and want so much to bless each of us who are called by Your name. Forgive us for the times we have failed to be the "Good Samaritan." We know that we have walked on the other side of the road, as we were selfish and simply did not want to get involved in helping others. Help me to use whatever talents and abilities that I have to be a good and faithful servant in my job, at home and whatever situation I may find myself in. Help me to treat others as I would want to be treated. Lord, give my physical body the energy and strength for the daily tasks before me. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
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