Wisdom in Relationships

Proverbs 3:27-35

Godly wisdom lives itself out in daily life – no more wisdom for its own sake than knowledge for its own.

Joan Baez (allusions to meditation by John Donne, early 17th century)

No man is an island,
No man stands alone,
Each man’s joy is joy to me,
Each man’s grief is my own.

A. example of the wise man

in the context of relationships with others – “what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” Mic. 6:8

1. avoid selfishness/stinginess – be generous vv. 27-28

with time, treasure, connections, etc.

two classes of those “to whom it is due”

someone you owe

civil authority – taxes & fees

vendor – purchase of goods or services

employee – compensation for work done

lender – money or material (borrowing without returning)

someone in need, you have means to aid, DO IT

stranded motorist


single parent

needing a kleenex, cough drop, a hug


living with an attentiveness to our duties and obligations

living with an awareness of needs of others

living with an attitude to give away quickly and generously rather than hoard and hope the need goes away

verse 28 follows verse 27 logically and sequentially

if we are not withholding good, we will be quick to give

we are to be imitators of God

we would be angry if God delayed answering our requests for no good reason

as God is quick to show goodness, mercy and love, so should we

2. avoid strife –be peacable vv. 29-30

“live at peace with all men” to the extent you can Rom. 12:18

be a good neighbor – it’s good for your own security

he trusts you to do right – don’t take advantage

look out for his interests – Phil. 2:3

“Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”

it may afford opportunities for personal witness

what you say about spiritual things needs to have credibility

don’t sweat the small stuff

wisdom distinguishes between:

injustice and inconvenience

principle and preference

injury and insult

1 Pet. 4:8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”

not an excuse for compromise

real injustice, violation of important principle, injury should be addressed

ok to use remedies found in civil or ecclesiastical court

3. avoid envy –be content vv. 31-32

natural response to question “why do wicked prosper?”

to envy considers only temporal issues, not eternal consequences

means are as important as ends (perhaps more important than)

envy (a form of discontent) dishonors God

implies God is not a good provider

implies that violent or perverse/devious means to an end can be justified

things lead to things

unrestrained envy eventually leads to wrong choices

wise response to be content

duty is to do what is right, leave results to God

Paul learned contentment, boiled the essentials down to “food and clothing”

1 Tim. 6:6-8 Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment,for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.

remember God is a good Father

provides what is best for us in His way

one who turns God’s order “upside-down” viewed by God as disgusting, repugnant

4. avoid wrongdoing – be God-focused vv. 33-35

all men receive common grace – only the righteous receive God’s blessing Matt. 5:45 “He makes the sun rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”; James 4:6 “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

those who

avoid wrongdoing

pursue righteousness

are humble

are God-focused

do it God’s way regardless

imitate God, not our neighbors

seek God’s approval

acknowledge all good things come from Him

Pray that we will leave and receive the legacy of the wise, not the foolish.


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