That’s What Friends Are For

  What are friends for? How do friends act? The Book of Proverbs provides answers to both questions.   Let’s begin with what friends are for. Proverbs 17:17 is as good a place as any to start:   A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.   This proverb compares a friend and a brother. Proverbs 18:24 contrasts them:   A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.   If I had to summarize the gist of these two proverbs, I’d do it … Continue reading That’s What Friends Are For

Resolving Destructive Conflict

  Yesterday, I defined a destructive conflict as one that occurs when wrong assails right for self-interested motives. A high school cheerleader gossiping about a student in her class, a drunk picking a fight in a bar, and a politician smearing a rival through lies and innuendo: these are examples of conflicts that destroy.   The question is, “How do we resolve such conflicts?”   The first step toward resolution is self-examination. Are you the source of the destructive conflict? Read Proverbs 17:19:   He who loves a quarrel loves sin; he who builds a high gate invites destruction.   … Continue reading Resolving Destructive Conflict

Sources of Destructive Conflict

  Nobody likes personal conflict. It takes a toll on you emotionally, physically and spiritually. But sometimes conflict is unavoidable, even necessary.   There are two basic types of conflict: constructive and destructive. Constructive conflict arises when right challenges wrong and calls for repentance and reform. Destructive conflict, on the other hand, occurs when wrong assails right for selfish reasons.   The Book of Proverbs advocates constructive conflict. This is most evident in its repeated exhortation for parents to discipline their children. But it everywhere condemns destructive conflict. Indeed, according to Proverbs 6:19, “[God hates] a man who stirs up … Continue reading Sources of Destructive Conflict

A Hebrew Lesson on Parenting

  Proverbs 22:6 is a well-known proverb about parenting. The New International Version of the Bible translates it this way:   Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.   Some people take this proverb as a promise. If they raise their children well, their children will turn out alright in the end. On occasion, I hear a worried mom or dad cite this verse about their adult children who have taken a wrong turn spiritually or morally. “He wasn’t raised that way,” they say. “Some day, he’ll … Continue reading A Hebrew Lesson on Parenting

Discipline, Obedience, and Consequences

  In his book, The Social Contract (1762), Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote: “Man is born free, but he is everywhere in chains.” This statement is often cited in support of the notion that the family and other social institutions warp a child’s natural goodness. Rather than imposing rules on children, so this thinking goes, parents should just let their kids express themselves however their little hearts desire.   (Why anyone listens to Rousseau has always been a mystery to me. Rather than raising his own five children, he fobbed them off on orphanages soon after their births. Perhaps he thought he … Continue reading Discipline, Obedience, and Consequences

Parents and Children

  Tiffany and I are the usually proud parents of a Forkie named Charlie. (A Forkie is a fat Yorkie.) We’re only usually proud because while Charlie is friendly and well-behaved indoors, the moment his paw hits the porch, he becomes less a Yorkshire Terrier than a Yorkshire Terrorist.   The other day, while walking with Charlie at dusk, we came across a married couple and their three German Shepherd puppies. Charlie predictably transformed himself into a furry, ten-pound ball of snarling meanness. When one of the German Shepherd puppies became slightly agitated, the wife leaned down, stroked his head, … Continue reading Parents and Children

Honest Weights and Measures

  When it comes to purchasing diamonds, does God care about the four Cs? This may surprise you, but according to the Book of Proverbs, he does. Before I show you chapter and verse, let me explain why this is an important issue.   In the fall of 2004, I purchased an engagement ring for Tiffany—then my girlfriend, now my wife. I wanted to buy a flawless, princess cut diamond in a platinum setting. But since I am not a millionaire, I settled for a very good diamond which I could afford (barely). It took me months, and more than … Continue reading Honest Weights and Measures

Don’t Loan; Give!

  In March 2003, I decided to purchase a brand new Honda Element. But after I made a down payment on the car and traded in my older vehicle, I still owed money on the purchase price. So, I borrowed the remaining principal through American Honda Finance Corporation. Thankfully, I have paid off the entire debt and now own the car outright; but that monthly payment was a real hassle for the entire time I had to pay it.   My personal experience of debt confirms the truth of Proverbs 22:7:   The rich rule over the poor, and the … Continue reading Don’t Loan; Give!