11. Other Relationships
The righteous person behaves in integrity; blessed are his children after him. (Proverbs 20:7)
Repaying Evil for Good
There are numerous things one may observe in a man’s relationships with other people that reveal interesting things about his character. For the most part, these involve people in general, beyond the circle of his close friends, but you may on occasion find them surfacing even in his relationship with you. Consider the questions that the following verses raise.
Read Proverbs 17:13.
What could your husband do that would cause evil to never leave his (your) house?
What does it mean to repay evil for good?
Have you ever seen the man you are dating do that? _____ If so, what was the circumstance?
Neighbors may or may not become good friends. Whatever the closeness of the relationship, a righteous man will exhibit something toward his neighbor that an evil man will not.
According to Proverbs 21:10, what is it?
How does your boyfriend treat the people who live close to him?
People He Dislikes
Read Proverbs 24:17 and 24:29. These verses point out two wrong ways to respond to someone with whom we do not get along well.
Write them on lines a and b below, then answer the questions under each one.
a) ________________________________________ (from Proverbs 24:17)
In Obadiah 1:8-15, God declares punishment for the people of Edom because of their attitude and hostile actions when another nation destroyed Judah.
Even though they weren’t the attacking nation, what did God hold them responsible for?
Is the man you are dating glad when someone he dislikes has problems?
Have you seen him take advantage of someone else’s misfortune?
b) ________________________________________ (from Proverbs 24:29)
There is a difference between setting boundaries on mistreatment so that it stops and “getting even” for that mistreatment. A desire for revenge is often a normal initial reaction when one has been hurt. An emotionally healthy adult will control that desire, however, and will choose not to dwell on it or to act on it. Taking steps to stop abuse is healthy; brooding on a desire to retaliate is emotional poison.
Does your boyfriend seek revenge when he feels he has been wronged?
Read Proverbs 25:20.
Every life has moments of stress and sadness. Sometimes a cheerful word, a little humor, or a lighthearted song will lift a person out of a gloomy mood and help him or her to feel better. But in many situations of severe loss, worry, or disappointment—when someone has what the writer of Proverbs calls “a heavy heart” and needs comfort and caring—levity can actually serve to make that person feel worse instead of better. By the time a boy reaches adulthood, he should be able to discern the difference in what people need.
Consider how the man you are interested in relates to the people around him. Is he sensitive to other people’s feelings and does he respond appropriately to them?
Children sometimes irritate people because they don’t use good judgment in what they say, how they say it, or when they say it. They cannot always anticipate how their behavior will affect another person and why. We understand that in children, but it is reasonable to expect better judgment to be exhibited by an adult. Proverbs 27:14 gives an illustration of insensitivity that causes offense.
What is it?
Does your boyfriend do or say things that irritate others because he doesn’t use good judgment?
It is generally unwise to interfere in a quarrel between other people that does not involve you unless you are the parent of one of the parties or a mediator who has been invited to give your opinion. Interference by someone who does not fully know both sides of the matter usually creates resentment in one or both of the parties involved, and they are likely to lash out at the one who thinks he is trying to help. Proverbs 26:17 creates an interesting word picture to illustrate this.
What is it?
A man who is convinced he has the answer to every disagreement and must fix other people without being asked is arrogant and can be very unpleasant to live with.
Does your boyfriend interfere (meddle) in others’ quarrels?
Read Proverbs 28:9 and Romans 13:1-7. These verses frame a general guideline of expected behavior for God’s people. There would obviously be an exception if a person in authority commanded a Christian to do something that was in contradiction to the higher law of Scripture, but as a general rule, we are to be people who respect and obey the laws of our land.
According to the above verses, what are the benefits of obeying the law?
Does your boyfriend disregard the law when it is inconvenient or more expensive to follow the law?
What are the consequences of disobeying the law?
If your boyfriend is unwilling to obey laws or rules that inconvenience him or cost him money, he is revealing a disrespect for authority that may make his prayers detestable to God and that could result in serious consequences at some point for himself and his family. Beware of aligning yourself with such a man.