Part three in a series dealing with wisdom from Prov. 17-18, words and attitudes covered previously, relationships the topic today. Relationships that are wise have to have restraint and careful consideration of our words and actions. I will be their God and they will be my people, God said throughout the Bible. That is a relationship statement. He is looking for those who will honor Him and will take up that relationship with Him. Here are three concepts relating to building wise relationships. We have to be careful who we associate with. Proverbs does not suggest we be friends with everyone. We can still be friendly but some people will lead us in the wrong direction.
1. Social intelligence (16:7). Inclusive in this is moral intelligence, which is emphasized throughout the book, though that is not the focus of this lesson. This has to do with awareness, which has to be learned, has to be taught. Prov. 16:7 - "When a man's ways are pleasing to the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him." That is social intelligence. This is indicative of a person who rules his spirit rather than letting his spirit rule him. He is aware enough to know when a situation is not in a good place and who will quit before a quarrel breaks out. And, in the midst of conflict, having a lowly spirit. Humility is at the foundation of living life the way it should be lived.
2. Know your true friends, 17:17. This thought carries through chapter 19. There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. We have to be wise with the relationships we build and who we allow into our lives. We have to be friends with people who treat us with dignity. Several verses deal with offenses and the fact that a true friend may call you out when you are not acting as you should. And also that we are careful not to get offended too quickly. We need to get all the facts out about a situation before we over react. And, a brother offended is harder to win than than a fortified city - 18:19. If we have truly offended someone, we need to do something about that. And, true friends are friends through adversity.
3. Seek marriage thoughtfully, live marriage purposefully. 18:22. We need to understand that this person will be bound to me for all of my earthly existence. It’s critical to find the right person who will walk side by side with you through the peaks and valleys. And, once found, to live purposefully with that person. Continual griping and complaining by either spouse will lead to ruin. There is nothing better than a good marriage and nothing worse than a bad one. Finding the right person is not about hoping someone who is close to what you want will change. Yes, people can change but you cannot force these truths upon someone.
Living wisely with our words, our attitudes, and our relationships.