Right Actions and Attitudes Matter
When it is in your power, don’t withhold good from the one to whom it is due. Don’t say to your neighbor, “Go away! Come back later. I’ll give it tomorrow”—when it is there with you. Don’t plan any harm against your neighbor, for he trusts you and lives near you. Don’t accuse anyone without cause, when he has done you no harm. Don’t envy a violent man or choose any of his ways; for the devious are detestable to the Lord, but He is a friend to the upright. The Lord’s curse is on the household of the wicked, but He blesses the home of the righteous; He mocks those who mock, but gives grace to the humble. The wise will inherit honor, but He holds up fools to dishonor. Proverbs 3:27-35 (HCSB)
When you walk according to the wisdom of the Lord, the Lord reveals what are right attitudes and actions when dealing with others in your life. In this passage, the others are not family members but those who should be your friend because they are your neighbor – those who live near you and you should interact with daily. The Lord reveals what are proper responsibilities to help us to establish and maintain right relationships that are meant for our benefit as well as serve His kingdom purposes. And, the Lord declares that “whenever it is in our power or ability” we are to avoid wrong behavior towards our neighbors, such as:
- Don’t withhold good to those neighbors who have done nothing wrong to you to warrant such behavior. Remember how the Lord has dealt with you and has not withheld good towards you. Remember also how He also never remembers wrong once you have confessed your wrong and sought to return to a right relationship with the Lord. Can you do the same with your neighbor, as well?
- Don’t delay doing right for your neighbor when he or she comes to you. When you put off doing what is right when it is possible to help your neighbor you are acting wrong. The Lord wants us to deal rightly with all people even when it may be inconvenient and interrupt our immediate plans. Why? Does the Lord put you off because He is too busy or does He respond in the proper time and in the proper way? We should respond likewise.
- Don’t plan any harm against your neighbor. You are to be building positive relationships not destroying relationships. You are to be building bridges of friendship. Jesus plainly said we are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.
- Don’t falsely accuse your neighbor of wrong doing. You should always strive to act and speak fairly and honestly with all your neighbors. Would you be pleased if your neighbors spoke falsely against you – if so, how would you feel?
- Don’t envy an evil man who may seem to have it all. Don’t seek his advice thinking his ways may be better ways. Yet we are to still deal rightly with him, just do not accept his ways as being right for you. The Lord will be his or her judge and deal with him or her in His just time and manner.
The Lord blesses those who live rightly in words, actions and attitudes. Are you humble enough to respond rightly to anyone who the Lord places before you as one of your neighbors? If so, the Lord is pleased. Don’t be like the fool who knew better but did wrong anyway. God honors the wise, and they are recognized daily because they live according to His will, ways, and wisdom in all their relationships.
One of the scribes approached. When he heard them debating and saw that Jesus answered them well, he asked Him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” “This is the most important,” Jesus answered: Listen, Israel! The Lord our God, The Lord is One. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. “The second is: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:28-31 (HCSB)