What we want for our people : For our people to receive wisdom from Proverbs on relationships.

Key Bible Verse:

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favour and a good name in the sight of God and man.

Proverbs 3:3-4 (NIV)
Words of instruction from Solomon to his son about relationships.

Presented below are four wise principles that can benefit and build every relationship we are in.

1. Wisdom wins people. The definition of “relationship” is “a connection which brings people together”. Whether the relationship is a marriage, parenting or friendship the goal is to have a connection, a bond that binds two people together. Wisdom in relationship seeks to build the glue in a relationship. Before you bond and build a relationship you need to win the person to yourself. How do we win people?

We win people by doing the simple practical things that show respect and that the person matters – eg: smile, eye contact, listen, give compliments, remember their names.

  • We win people by intentionally doing the New Testament “one another” statements. For example:
  • Love one another (John 13:34)
  • Accept one another (Romans 15:7)
  • Encourage one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
  • Be at peace with one another (Mark 9:50)
  • Serve one another (Gal 5:13)
  • Don’t grumble with one another (John 6:43)
  • Be kind to one another (Eph 4:32)
  • Be devoted to one another (Rom 12:10)
  • Pray for one another (James 5:16)
  • Be hospitable to one another (1 Peter 4:9)
  • We win people by doing kind deeds(Proverbs 11:30 & 18:16)

We win people not by being incredible, but by being credible.

Ps Mark Kelsey

We don’t win people by charm and flattery but with our integrity (Proverbs 11:3).

2. Choose Wisely. Our relationships can positively or negatively influence how we live and who we are. We have a responsibility to win people however, this does not discount the need to have boundaries on who we form strong relationships with. The book of Proverbs advises on wisely choosing both our marriage partner and our friendships (Proverbs 12:26 & 13:20). It also has much to say about the beauty of true friendship (Proverbs 18:24, 27:6,9 & 17).

3. Words Build or Destroy Relationship. Relationships are built up or torn apart by the power of our words (Proverbs 12:18). Remembering that the word “proverb” means “comparison” there is no greater comparative picture than the fruit that is born from positive words and those of negative words. This Proverb highlights reckless words are destructive and painful like a wound from a sharp sword, whereas wise and loving words can bring life and healing.

In all our relationships and interactions in our home, work, and daily life we need to guard and harness our tongue. Proverbs has many examples of the fruit of our words:

Words that BuildWords that Break
▪ Nourishing words (10:21)
▪ Healing words (12:18)
▪ Gentle words (15:1)
▪ Soothing words (15:4)
▪ Gracious words (16:24)
▪ Kind words (12:25)
▪ Truthful words (12:19, 22)
▪ Apt words (25:11)
▪ Correcting words (25:12)
▪ Words kept in confidence (11:13)
▪ Words with restraint (10:19, 17:27-28)
▪ Lying slanderous words (10:18, 18:8)
▪ Chattering / gossipy words (10:8)
▪ Reckless words (12:18)
▪ Scorching words (16:27)
▪ Too many words (10:19)
▪ Hasty words (29:20)
▪ Flattering words (26:28)
▪ Hot-headed words (15:18)
▪ Perverse words (10:31-32)
▪ Empty / procrastinating words (14:23)
▪ Answering without listening (18:13)

4. Our Character Affects Our Relationships. Our character affects and is expressed in our relationships. Some examples of character traits that are mentioned in Proverbs are commitment, humility, integrity, self-control, faithfulness, diligence and kindness.

Anger is both a character trait and a behaviour that deeply damages relationships. “Quiet anger” is expressed as unforgiveness and bitterness, “loud anger” as rage and violence. Both are detrimental to relationships and to our own physical and emotional well-being. The important thing is to control our anger and not let it control us (Proverbs 15:1,16:32, 21:23 & 29:11).

When anger has occurred in a relationship it brings pain and trust has been broken. Apologising and forgiving are the two antidotes that repair the relationship.

A true apology is more than just acknowledgement of a mistake.

It is recognition that something you have said or done has damaged a relationship and that you care enough about the relationship to want it repaired and restored.

Norman Vincent Peale

Connect Group Discussion Questions:
GATHER:
(ensure that these questions centre around community)

  • Share a story of the last time you won a stranger, a new neighbour, a business colleague, or guest at church to yourself and how you did that or when someone won you over.
  • What impact has true friendship had on your life?
  • How important have the words of friends been to you?

GROW: (ensure that these questions prompt discussion on personal growth and maturity)

  • Share if you are comfortable, any problems you have faced in the past with controlling your anger and how you have changed. What helped you to change?
  • What is your next step to apply these principles? Is there someone to say sorry to? Do you need to become a better listener? Do you need to end a friendship that isn’t good for you? Just pick one thing to work on.

GO: (ensure that these questions prompt discussion on going and spreading the good news)

  • When you are trying to win someone to Christ, you need to watch your words. What are some ways we can ensure we don’t undermine the integrity of the church and our God?
  • Is there a person you are trying to win? What will be your next step according to the wisdom in Proverbs? A kind word or deed? Encouragement or listening?
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