”Like a silver glazing over a piece of earthenware are affectionate words from an evil heart.”
Christians should be wary of people who try to hit on them with bad intentions.
In a world of moral decadence in which most single adults try to have as many sexual experiences as possible, a kind, friendly Christian’s virginity or integrity may be seen as an attractive barrier that can be challenged and overcome (Gal. 5:16,17,19-21).
Like in first-century Christian times, the practices of the world are not the practices of God’s people (1 John 2:15-17).
Christians should therefore check their associations periodically to make sure they are not lending themselves to be used by an immoral person’s fleshly desires (1 Cor. 10:12; 15:33).
When that person’s true intentions are manifest, a true Christian will have to face the consequences of having deserted his or her faith (Rom. 14:12; Gal. 6:7-9).
“But when I stumbled, they rejoiced and gathered together; […]
They tore me to pieces and did not keep silent.”
Gossip can have tragic consequences and in the best of cases, it ruins people’s reputations.
Anyone who has ever been a victim of gossip can perhaps relate to feeling like they are being ‘torn to pieces.’
It is important to be brave and steer conversations away from speaking negatively about others, especially when intimate details do not directly involve both listeners.
Worse than gossip is the feeling that others are rejoicing at one’s pain.
This can be disheartening and is far from Christian love as outlined in the Scriptures.
What a comfort it is to know that one can pray to Jehovah: “Do not stay far from me, Awake and rise to my defense, […] Judge me according to your righteousness […]; Do not let them gloat over me,” (Ps. 35:22-24).
Jehovah is ready to impart peace to those who serve Him and praise His name (Ps. 35:27, 28).
“Let the day perish on which I was born, […]
Let that day be darkness.”
After losing his life’s work, his livelihood, his family and his health, Job had more than plenty reasons to be depressed (Job 1:13-19; 2:7,9).
His false friend, Eliphaz, wrongfully attributed Job’s depression to a lack of faith.
“Does your reverence for God not give you confidence?” he asked accusingly (Job 4:6).
But Job’s depression did not stem from an unfulfilled spiritual need (Job 2:3,6,9,10).
His trials were beyond what any man can emotionally bear while still holding on to a certain sense of sanity.
This is why he sat mourning on ashes, unrecognizable (Job 2:8,12).
It is normal for serious problems to affect our emotional health and attitude, whatever their nature may be.
When a friend confides in us that they are depressed, it is important not to make it an issue of faith, because we may end up sounding like Eliphaz giving wrong counsel to Job.
If we are not careful with our choice of words and assumptions, we may make a bad situation much, much worse.
It is important, therefore, to imitate Jehovah’s kindness and really take the time to listen and observe before applying any type of counsel to those who are brokenhearted (Ps.34:18; Jas.1:19).
So Hiram went out from Tyre to see the cities that Solomon had given him, but he was not satisfied with them. He said: “What sort of cities are these that you have given me, my brother?” So they came to be called the Land of Cabul* down to this day. In the meantime, Hiram sent to the king 120 talents of gold.
~1 Kings 9:12-14
*possibly meaning “the land as good as nothing.”
The attitude that King Hiram of Tyre demonstrated toward supporting true worship is worthy of noting.
Before Solomon’s reign, Hiram was a friend to King David, sending him cedar and craftsmen to work on his palace (2 Sam. 5:11).
Once the building of the temple and Solomon’s palace was underway, King Hiram contributed significantly by sending his own best workers to support the 20-year project (1 Ki. 5:6-18).
“He rejoiced greatly and said: ‘May Jehovah be praised today, for he has given David a wise son over this great people!’” (1 Ki. 5:7).
Although this was a business transaction, King Hiram saw Solomon as more than a friend, calling him “my brother” even upon being let down by him.
After receiving the cities that were “good for nothing,” we continue to read about King Hiram’s monetary contributions to King Solomon’s reign (1 Ki. 10:11,12,22).
May we follow his example and continue to view our brothers and sisters in the faith with respect and admiration, ever-willing to support one another, even when we do not feel that they have fulfilled their end of an important agreement.