Tag: Relationship

Four Types of People (Proverbs 18:1-4) (Part 2)

The Wicked People

Proverbs 18:3 “When the Wicked cometh, then cometh also contempt and, with ignominy (humiliation), reproach (criticism).” (NIV) “When Wickedness comes, so does contempt, and with shame comes disgrace.” – Wicked Person keeps miserable company of: “Contempt {shame}, ignominy {humiliation}, and reproach {scandal}.

The two lines of Proverbs are arranged synthetically, the three term (contempt {shame}, ignominy {humiliation}, reproach {scandal}) telescoping out in a description of the ever-increasing ignominy {humiliation} that befalls the “Wicked-Person.

  • Wickedness brings “contempt” (shame).
  • Wickedness leads to “ignominy” (humiliation).
  • Wickedness leads to “reproach” (scandal).

When the Wicked Person comes, all these evils (contempt {shame}, ignominy {humiliation}, reproach {scandal}) followed him (Perowne). Wickedness is both a contemptible (disgraceful) and a contemptuous (scornful) thing (Thomas). Wickedness brings with it “contempt” {shame}, “ignominy” {humiliation} and “reproach” {scandal}.

Pride and Selfishness are the characteristic of the Wicked, as the Wicked Person comes, he is apt to cast contempt (shame), ignominy (humiliation) and reproach (scandal) on every man’s face (Bishop Hall). His neighbour’s circumstances or illnesses provides him with an opportunity to ridicule (mock) his (Wicked) neighbour; and God’s Word finds no favour in his (Wicked Person’s) sight. God’s people are the object of his (Wicked) contempt.

When the Wicked Person comes, he is accompanied by “contempt” (buz). The attitude of contempt characterizes the Wicked Person, we may say that “contempt” is with him wherever he goes. “Ignominy” (qalon – humiliation) parallels “wicked,” indicating that the Wicked Person is the Person without grace, thus, bringing humiliation to himself. He is accompanied by “reproach” (herep – scandal), the lack of honour that he directs toward those who are around him.

The Wise Man

Proverbs 18:4 (KJV) “The words of a man’s mouth are like deep waters, and the wellspring of wisdom like a flowing brook.” (NIV) “The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters, but the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.” –  The description of the Wise-man of Proverbs 18:4 expresses the depth, the abundance, the clearness, and the force of the thoughts of the Wise-man, which is “the spring of life,” honest and revealing truth:

  • The “wellspring of wisdom” is parallel to the “deep waters.” – that is, there is “depth” in the Wise-Person thoughts and attitude, and the things he does
  • The Wise Person is full of useful things and is always able to contribute profitably on many matters. His deep insight (“deep waters”) is drawn from “the Fountain of Living Water” – John 7:38-39 “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of Living Waters……of the Holy Spirit”
  • The Wise-Person’s Word flows like a spring brook, clear, clean, and cleansing that edify, exhort, and comfort, and encourage and refresh the Hearers.  
  • When the Person has immersed himself in God’s Wisdom, his words in themselves deep waters, and as he speaks, he become a fruitful as “a bubbling brook.”   This is a picturesque description of the value of wisdom.

The parallelism requires that the “words of a man’s mouth” be wise words. These are “deep-waters” (Proverbs 20:5), profound and providing an inexhaustible supply of counsel and blessing. Verse 4b explains verse 4a, the “Well-spring” (or “Fountain”) of Wisdom “being an emblematic (symbolic) portrayed of wise speech. This is “a bubbling brook,” a limitless source of God’s Wisdom. 

Four Types of People (Proverbs 18:1-4) (Part 1)

The Statement

Proverbs Chapter 18 has no single theme, but underlying it is the whole subject of the Character and Conduct of the Wise. No Person can get far in life before coming up against the issues touched on in Proverbs Chapter 18: Companionship, Depravity, Words, Fairness, Security. There are some profound observations on these points:

The Conceited Person –

Proverbs 18:1 (KJV) “Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom.” (NIV) “An unfriendly man pursues selfish ends; he defiles all sound judgement.” The Phrase: “one who separates himself?” (KJV) refers to dividing people. Thus, Proverbs 18:1 has been taken both in a negative sense and in a positive sense (Matthew Henry) – The negative sense, however, fits the text of Proverbs 18:1, better (Matthew Henry).

  • Conceited – Proverbs 18:1, taken in the right context, speaks of the Person who is conceited and a lone-Ranger, the anti-social Individualist, who will not listen to others. The Conceited Person finds his identity in his non-conformity and obstinately sets himself apart, independently, from those around him. In simple term, the Conceited Person is a Selfish-Person, all this thoughts and actions lead to himself. He measures everything by his thoughts and his wishes, his comfort, his perspective.
  • Quarrelsome – The word “intermeddleth” (KJV, “Gala” {Proverbs 17:14}) is better translated “quarrel.” Conceited Person “quarrels” against all sound wisdom. The word “intermeddleth” comes from a root meaning: “To show one’s teeth” or “to break forth in hostilities.” – This root “quarrel {intermeddleth}” is found three times in the Book of Proverbs (Proverbs 17:14 {starting quarrel, NIV}; Proverbs 18:1 {intermeddleth = quarrel, KJV}; Proverbs 20:3 {quick to quarrel, NIV}). Fierce independence snarls and growls at all attempts from others to counsel or guide him. In the end, the doggedly self-willed Conceited Person may get “his desire,” but lose “sound wisdom.” Conceited Person forfeited God’s treasure of Wisdom.  
  • Sound-Wisdom – Conceited Person lacks sound wisdom. The term “sound-wisdom” has the idea of “sound-judgement” and that which flows from it, that is, abiding success in the practical affairs of life – Proverbs 2:7a “He (God) stores up sound wisdom for the upright.”
  • Isolationist – The Conceited Person is “a quarrelsome Isolationist.” (Perowne) opts for the RV rendering where “desire” is taken to mean “his own self-indulgent” desire.
  • Versions we consulted have followed this lead. The Conceited Person is “a boorish {rude} irresponsibility” (Perowne).

Versions give “rages against quarrels with, or shows contempt,” and say it is about “the evil of isolation,” showing forth “a self-conceited, hair-brained Person seeking to satisfy his fancy” (Schultens). The Conceited Person who separates himself from conventional wisdom, following his own self desires, puts himself in the position of warring against sound wisdom. Proverbs 18:1 warns against headstrong, self-centred decision (“Zockler, pg.166). As Proverbs 15:22 says, “a multitude of Counsellors” help to establish the Individual’s Plan.

The Foolish Person

Proverbs 18:2 (KJV) “A Fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.” (NIV) “A Fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinion.” This antithetical (adversative) Proverbs (Proverbs 18:2), The Fool is not intellectual deficient but attitudinal deficient. Thus, a Fool lays bare the unteachable, and arrogant Person (Fool).

  • The first line Proverbs 18:2a, makes its point by stating the opposite – “A Fool hath no delight in understanding” (Proverbs 18:2a) – that is, he despises understanding – that is, the Fool has no interest in listening or learning.
  • The second line, Proverbs 18:2b reveals, the Fool only interest is to expose what is on his mind – “But delights in airing his own opinion.” (NIV). The root of the verb “revealing” (discover) mean to uncover, to reveal, to be away or to go away. The form shown here is found only one other time in the O.T. in Genesis 9:21, where Noah got drunk and uncovered himself, sleeping naked in his tent.

Thus, it would not be a stretch to understand that the Fool of Proverbs 18:2, is descriptive of the Person (Fool) who has the tendency of an exhibitionist = show-off – the Fool, to his own shame, of his thoughts, opinions, musings, and vaunted (overhyped) insights. As a Fool, he lives in a delusional world of his own making.

The Book of Proverbs has often underscored the inability of the Fool to constrain his speech, and thus, his tendency to make public display of his Folly:

  • Proverbs 12:23b “The heart of the Fools proclaim s foolishness.”
  • Proverbs 13:16b “But a Fool lays open his folly.”
  • Proverbs 15:2b “But the mouth of the Fools pours forth foolishness.”   

Proverbs teaches that “He who restrains his words has knowledge…Even a Fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is counted prudent” (Proverbs 17:27a, 28). However, the Foolish Person has “a close mind but open mouth” in which he puts both feet, thus discovering, exposing his heart, pouring out his ignorance.

  • The disposition of the Fool is entirely opposite to that of the Wise-Person, for he has no pleasure in understanding – Proverbs 18:2a “A Fool hath no delight in understanding.”
  • The Foolish Person does not “delight” (hapes) in those matter that will give him greater understanding of life. The word “hapes” describes a deep emotional involvement, as his whole desire is to pour out his own frivolity {triviality}.

The Fool’s antipathy {opposition} toward understanding, then, comes from his emotional preoccupation with less important matters (trivialities). Fool has no concern for wisdom. In particular, he concerns himself “that his heart may discover itself.” = He wants to reveal his own opinions. His own thoughts are all more important to him that others’ views. – Proverbs 18:13 (KJV) “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.” (NIV) “He who answers before listening – that is folly and his shame.”  

Stay Tuned….. To be continued

Forgiveness (Matthew 6:12) (Part 1)

Scripture:  

Matthew 6:12 “Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors” (NIV).

Unforgiveness is the greatest single barrier that exists amongst professing Christians. From Calvary onwards, if there is any barrier between God and men, they are on men’s side and not on God’s side. From the Death, Burial and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ all the barriers are down on God’s side. If any there is any kind of barrier on our spiritual progress, something that is holding us back, frustrating us, holding us down, keeping us from the peace, satisfaction, the fulfilment, that we long to have, that the barrier is on men’s side and not on God’s side. The greatest single barrier to in Christians to God’s Peace and Perfect Rest is unforgiveness. 

Forgiveness resulted in reconciliation, peace, harmony, understanding, and fellowship. The world stands in need of these things. The failure to forgive resulted in bitterness, strive, disharmony, hatred, war. These negative feelings can only be dealt with as we learn and apply the Principle of Forgiveness. There are two directions of forgiveness represented in the Bible. These two directions are well portrayed by that great symbol of our Christian faith, the Cross. The Cross has two beams, one vertical and one horizontal. And these two beams represent the two directions of forgiveness:

  • The vertical beam represents the forgiveness that we all need to receive from God through the Lord Jesus Christ as to our Christian Faith.
  • The horizontal beam represents our relationship with our fellow men. It speaks of the forgiveness, which in this case is two ways: the forgiveness we need to receive from others and the forgiveness we need to give to others. Once again, the only place where we can receive the grace for that kind of forgiveness is the Cross.

The Lord’s Prayer – When Jesus commented on the Lord’s Prayer, the only part that He comment on is Matthew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” That is the source of all the problems the Person faces who does not forgive. That Person does not have God’s forgiveness. Matthew 6:12 “And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive everyone that sinned against us:

The Person cannot ask God for forgiveness if he does not forgive others. The Person is entitled to God’s forgiveness in the same proportion that he forgives others but not more. If that Person does not forgive others their sins, God will not forgive him, his sins.

Matthew 6:13“Deliver us from the evil one.” – The Person has no right to pray that Prayer until the Person confesses, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespasses against us” (Matthew 6:12). Obtain God’s forgiveness settled, then deliverance is not a problem. If the Person is not in a forgiving spirit and attitude towards any Person who has offended him, the Devil has a legal claim against that Person life – If there is any area of unforgiven offend in the Person’s life, that an area to which Satan has a legal claim. The Person cannot get Satan out of that area of his life. If there is anyone whom the Person has not forgiven, in that proportion the Person is not forgiven by God and because the Person is not forgiven in that area, the Devil has a legal claim over that Person life. Therefore, the Person cannot have deliverance until the Person has freely forgiven “ought against any.

Parable of Unforgiving Servant

Matthew 18:15-35, our Lord Jesus Christ reveals the life of the Church – Right relationship among the Members of the Body of Christ, and with others. He (Jesus) laid down the steps in Restoration:

  • Steps in Restoration of Relationship between Offending Christians (Matthew 18:15-17).
  • Power house of Right Relationship (Matthew 18:18-20).
  • Attitude of Forgiveness (Matthew 18:21-23).
  • The Parable on Forgiveness (Matthew 18:24-35).

The Comment of our Lord Jesus Christ on the Parable: “So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if you from your hearts, forgive not everyone his brother his trespasses” (Matthew 18:35). Our Lord Jesus does not leave it as a Parable, but He (Jesus) applies it specifically to each of us. He warned us of the consequence of unforgiveness. The warning comes from the lips of our Lord Jesus Christ. No one was more ready to forgive than our Lord Jesus Christ, but He set certain Principle – “If we want to be forgiven by God, we must forgive others.” Our Lord Jesus warns us of the consequences of failure to forgive:

  • Wickedness (Matthew 18:32) = Unforgiveness is not only sin but Wickedness in God’s Sight.
  • God’s Anger (Matthew 18:34). Unforgiveness provokes God’s Anger, because there is an exact parallel between the Master and the Servant and God and Us.
  • Unforgiveness delivers us to the Tormentors (Matthew 18:34). The torment is in three Areas: Physical, mental, and spiritual. Today, there are multitude of Christians that have been delivered to the Tormentors because they failed to forgive those that have offended them.

When God delivers the unforgiving Christian to the Tormentors. No Pastor can deliver that Person out of the Tormentor. The Person has to meet God’s Condition, that is to forgive before he can be delivered from the hands of the Tormentor. Forgiveness must be from the heart (Matthew 18:35).

To be continued….. Stay tuned.

Bitterness (Ephesians 4:31-32) (Part 2)

Development

Bitterness accumulates with time. It does not go away but become worse; people do not get less bitter with age or maturity. The person gets more bitter over the years. It gets worse and worse. Bitterness begins with:

  • Hurt – A person who is easily hurt is more likely to get bitter.
  • Resentment – Hurt if not dealt with, will lead to resentment. There is a close relationship between hurt feelings and resentment.
  • Bitterness – Resentment, if not dealt with, will lead to bitterness. Bitterness is resentment held too long. It has become rancid and rotten. If bitterness is kept in, it gets worse.
  • Hatred – Bitterness if not dealt with and kept too long will lead to hatred. There is a clear biblical identification between hatred and murder (1John 3:15).

God’s Warning

Hebrews 12:15 (NKJV) “Looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.” God’s Word describes bitterness as:

  • Fall short of God’s Grace – This is God’s warning of the possibility of falling short from God’s Grace. To fall short of God’s Grace is to fall on the ground of the Law. God deals with Individual either on ground of (1) Law, or (2) Grace. We cannot be on both grounds (Law & Grace) at the same time. After experiencing God’s Grace, it is unthinkable to fall short of God’s Grace.
  • Root of bitterness – Root of bitterness is the very essence of bitterness – root is something that is underground and cannot be seen. But there can be visible evidence of its presence, as when it surfaces. The fruit that is brought forth bears a direct relation to the root producing it, it bears bitter fruit.
  • Trouble –Bitterness generally never destroys the person who has done the wrong, bitterness destroys the person who is bitter, even if the offended person is innocent. Bitterness causes trouble, physical (sickness, lost of sleep), emotional (unstable, mental breakdown) and ultimately spiritual (backslidden, not in harmony with God and men).
  • Defile – The tragedy is that the “root of bitterness” not only troubles the person involved but it also defiles the people around the bitter person, “the “many” become defiled by its fruit (bitterness). We have seen bitterness goes through the home, church, office and work place.

Every person, without exception, will pass through bitter experience, but the Individual should not allow the bitter experience into his spirit, if there is the spiritual exercise before God concerning this experience. Bitterness will either bring about a broken and contrite spirit (Isaiah 66:2; Isaiah 57:15; Psalm 34:18; Psalm 51:17), or else it brings a root of bitterness in the spirit. We must watch against these roots, subterraneous roots, from taking root in our spirit.

Demonic Wisdom

James 3:14-15 (NIV) “But if you harbour bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such wisdom does not come down from heaven but is earthly, un-spiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice” (James 3:14-15). If an Individual harbours bitterness, evil practice will result. It does not come from heaven. It is straight from the pit of hell and is demonic, – as it is, it is a real problem!

Grieves the Holy Spirit

Bitterness grieves the Holy Spirit – Ephesians 4:30-31 (NKJV) “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”

Solution

In order to get rid of bitterness the person must:

  • Acknowledges – The person needs to recognise that he has bitterness in his heart and bring it to the surface. The temptation is to look at the Offender and what was done. That is the nature of bitterness. In order to get rid of it, the person needs to recognise that it is his problem before he can forgive, confess and forsake it.
  • Recognises – That bitterness does not please God and result in self-harm. Again, the reason the person does not deal with his bitterness is that he thinks it is the other persons who is wrong, and needs to apologise, which may be true, but it does not help. Only forgiveness of the offend and the person is the answer.
  • Confession & Forgiveness – The person who is bitter must not keep sharing it. The only thing that gets rid of bitterness is to forgive and plea the Blood of Jesus for cleansing and covering; acknowledging that he has experienced God’s Forgiveness through the Finished Work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Resist Self-Justification – In our talk with God (prayer), the person should resist giving excuses for being bitter, i.e. reminding God that the person who offended him is at fault and that he has the right to be bitter. The person has to get his eyes of the other person’s fault and focus on releasing the bitterness to God and the healing from God.

Amy Carmichael has a note in her little book: “For a cup brimful of sweet water cannot spill even one drop of bitter water, however suddenly jolted. If it is full of sweet water and is jolted, what will come out of the cup? Sweet water. If you gave it a harder jolt, what’s going to happen? More sweet water.”  If someone is filled with sweet personality and someone else gives him a jolt, what will come out? Sweet Attitude. Jolts do not turn sweet personality into bitter personality. That is done by something else.

Bitterness in the Congregation is a major hindrance to Revival. When Christians start to forgive and confess their sins, they will be able to receive forgiveness from God and a personal victory over the work of the flesh and the enemy.

Bitterness (Ephesians 4:31-32) (Part 1)

Scripture

Ephesians 4:31-32“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Question

“Is it possible to be kind, compassionate, tender-hearted and yet bitter at the same time?” All these are Attitudes. It is not possible to be tender-hearted and yet bitter.  Paul says to get rid of all bitterness and to be kind and compassionate one to another. Bitterness cannot co-exist with tender-heartedness.

God’s Word

God’s Word commanded us to get rid of all bitterness. Many people “enjoyed” holding things against other people, but God’s Word requires us to let go of all bitterness and maintain a tender heart.  There are many people who:

  • Not only are bitter.
  • They enjoy being bitter.
  • They somehow like it.
  • They feed on it.

A bitter person would not know what to do if he gets rid of bitterness; he would not have a purpose for his life. We know of people like that in the world, and we know people like that in the Church. It is easy to recognize when somebody is bitter

  • His eyes and the lines of the face reveal it. It can be seen in his face even when he is smiling and laughing.
  • The tone of his voice reveals it. You can hear it when he protests that he is not bitter.
  • The bitterness is central and pervades everything, his personality, speech, body language and his physical appearance.

It is relatively easy to detect when a person is bitter. But it is not so easy to see it in ourselves. It is therefore important to have a good understanding of what cause bitterness and the results that bitterness produce.

Definition

Bitterness is what a person feels when offended, whether real or imagined, against him. The very definition of bitterness points to the action of another. Bitterness is based on the offence or situation that relates to someone close to us.  It is not concerned with how big the offence is; it is based upon how close the person is. Bitterness is related to those people who are close, for example: fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, children, relatives – grandparents, uncles, mothers-in-law, fathers–in-law, daughters-in-law, sons-in-law, boyfriends, girlfriends, roommates, close friends, business partners, church leaders. There are also people who are bitter against God (Naomi – Ruth 1:13b, 20-21; Jonah).We get offended but not bitter against people who are outside our immediate contact. Bitterness is based upon somebody’s offence who is close to us and who did something to us. It might be minor. It does not have to be great, it just has to be close.

Remember Details

One of good rule of thumb is this: “Bitterness remembers details.”

  • Accumulates – The offence may occur 5 years ago, but the person who is offended and is bitter remembers every word and detail of the offence. Bitterness accumulates.
  • Review – How can a person remembers every detail of the happening – his memory is helped by review, review and more review of the offence. He mulls over the hurts. A person normally goes over the thing that hurt him.
  • Right and Wrong – The person will concentrate on “how right” he is and “how wrong” the other person who hurts him was. Look what he did to me!

Imaginary Offence – Many times a person can be bitter toward another person for what he said, when in reality he misunderstood of what was said, or has not been said. Many bitter people cannot imagine the possibility that they are bitter over imaginary offences. As far as bitterness is concerned, the other person’s offence is always real. Genuine Offence – There are many bitter people who really were mistreated by the Offender.

To be continued….. Stay Tuned……

Personal Relationships (Proverbs Chapter 18: 1,22,24) (Part 2)

True Friend

Proverbs 18:24b (NIV) “But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Having seen the “unfriendliness” in Proverbs 18:1 and “over-friendliness” in Proverbs 18:24a, we now have the “just right friendship” in Proverbs 18:24b “But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

  • True Friendship is giving of Oneself unreservedly to the interests of Another. It is unrealistic to attempt this to everyone we are on friendly term with.
  • True Friend is brought together by a combination of circumstances and that mysterious chemistry that creates a bond between two Persons which can be closer than the ties of blood and qualify for the name “brother.”

King David’s brothers virtually disowned him, but Jonathan took up his cause. Jesus was rejected by His Jewish Brothers (John 1:11) but John, “the Disciple Jesus loved,” stayed with Him to the end. True Friendship is more than Affability (Friendliness), it is commitmentProverbs 17:17 (NIV) “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”

Marriage (Greatest Friend)

Proverbs 18:22 (NIV) “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favour from the Lord.” Marriage is the ultimate in Friendship, involving as it does a more formal and public expression of total and life-long commitment than that made to “a friend who becomes a brother” (Proverbs 18:24b).

  • Marriage is one of the Bible’s Finest Commendations of a “Excellent Friendship and Companionship.”
  • God Himself gave Adam a Companion for life by presenting Eve to him (Genesis 2:20b-24).
  • The wife (woman) is one of the “good things” that still remain through “favour (gift) from the LORD.” – God knows how much a man needs the support (“help-mate”), care and sympathy of a Companion.
  • God’s Favour (wife) is not a right, but it is a Gift of Grace (Favour) which has to be sought – We have to “find a wife” because not all women are compatible (well-matched) – Proverbs 11:22 (NIV) “Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.”
  • Prayer, observation and thought have to go into the matter lest it turn out unhappily as in – Proverbs 19:13 (NIV) “A foolish son is his father’s ruin, and a quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping.” (Proverbs 21:19; Proverbs 25:24; Proverbs 27:15).
  • Husband must show love and tenderness – Colossians 3:19 (NIV) “Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them” (Ephesians 5:25-33; 1Peter 3:7).

Personal Relationships (Proverbs Chapter 18: 1,22,24) (Part 1)

The Statement

Proverbs Chapter 18 has no single theme, but underlying it is the whole subject of the Character and Conduct of the Wise. No Person can get far in life before coming up against the issues touched on in Proverbs Chapter 18: Relationship, Depravity, Words, Fairness, Security. There are some profound observations on these points:

Observation on Personal Relationships:

1. Unfriendliness

Proverbs 18:1 (NIV) “An unfriendly man pursues selfish ends; he defies all sound judgement.” The unfriendly person is “a Loner.” The term “unfriendly” literally means “he who separates himself.” He is Antisocial, he has little time for anyone else because he is “selfish” and pursues “selfish ends,” that is, he has his own ends in view and the company of others interferes with them.

This brings him into conflict with conventional Wisdom – “Sound Judgement” – for in order to justify being different from others he has to criticize and condemn normal thinking and behaviour. The word for “defies” is strong, literally “breaks out,” suggesting that from his ivory tower he issues scornful denunciations of the lives and views of his fellow-citizens. This kind of person is introduced in Proverbs 18:1, as one not to be emulated, for the truth is, not that he is superior to others, but that he cannot form relationships.

2. Over-Friendliness

Proverbs 18:24a (NIV) “A man of many companions may come to ruin.” Proverbs Chapter 18 ended on the subject of Personal Relationships on which it began, but with the complete opposite of the Loner (unfriendly Person – Proverbs 18:1). The meaning of Proverbs 18:24a is a bit obscure but it describes a person who has many Friends, that is, he is a Good Mixer who treats all alike and is “every man’s friend.” There is no depth in relationship.

At first glance, this great Socialiser seems the ideal, yet we are told he “may come to ruin,” because in adversity he had no one to whom he is close enough to command his loyalty, no one such as the part two of Proverbs 18:24b (NIV) “But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” It is possible to have so many friends that we have no real friends!

To be continued…… Stay Tuned.