Many people complain that religion is full of do's and don'ts, as if this is wrong. But isn't it the nature of a civilized people to have laws that govern society in a beneficial way?
Not all "don'ts" are restrictions of freedoms or rights. It's the nature and purpose of exhortations (or laws) that is the issue. When a parent says to a child, "Don't hit your friend," is this a wrong or negative restriction? Hardly!
Whenever you are able, do good to people who need help. If you have what your neighbor asks for, don’t say, “Come back later. I will give it to you tomorrow.”
Don’t make plans to hurt your neighbor who lives nearby and trusts you. Don’t accuse a person for no good reason; don’t accuse someone who has not harmed you. Don’t be jealous of those who use violence, and don’t choose to be like them.
The Lord hates those who do wrong, but he is a friend to those who are honest. The Lord will curse the evil person’s house, but he will bless the home of those who do right.
The Lord laughs at those who laugh at him, but he gives grace to those who are not proud. Wise people will receive honor, but fools will be disgraced. (Proverbs 3:27-35 NCV)
Whenever you are able, do good to people who need help.
- What are we exhorted to do? What things are we exhorted not to do?
- What are the qualifying statements connected to each of these exhortations?
- How are the exhortations, in verses 27-31, related to the statements in verses 32-25?
- How are these statements both promises and warnings?
Make it personal...
How are you a blessing to others you come in contact with, and those with whom you have a relationship?
Are you aware of thoughts in your heart and mind that are harmful to your relationships with others?
What are specific ways you can choose to be a blessing to others, and live your life in a way that benefits others?
There's something to be said for the expression, "Practice random acts of kindness." But what if it wasn't random? Wouldn't it be better for us to practice kindness as a way of life?
How we treat others depends a lot on what our thoughts are towards them. If we have negative, vengeful, or hateful thoughts, then this will be seen by how we treat others.
But when God's wisdom and kindness are valued and held in our hearts and minds, then kindness towards others will more naturally flow out of us.