Awhile back I came across a proverb that made me laugh. In this dry, hot summer, a summer that has brought many hardships, a little laughter is good.
Proverbs 27:14 reads: "If a man loudly blesses his neighbor early in the morning, it will be taken as a curse."
I can honestly say that I have never in my life heard a message from this verse. I only stumbled across this verse out of a commitment to read from the Bible every day.
This verse raises a question of why it is that God, with so many important things to worry about, cautions us about making lots of noise early in the morning.
Let me offer a couple of thoughts.
Actions are never isolated. We speak today in poignant terms of our environmental impact changing and influencing the ecosystem around us. Our environmental impact is greater than steps to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Our actions make an impact on the people and things around us everywhere we go. There are people that we interact with from casual to intimate levels every single day that we impact. To be a blessing to a neighbor, you have to first realize that you have neighbors. Actions and words are never expressed in isolation. They ripple, sometimes more than we think.
Be neighborly. One of the great songs from Sesame Street of yesterday had this line: "Who are the people in your neighborhood." The song encouraged kids, and adults sucked into listening, to observe and know those people around you.
Sometimes the hardest people to know are the ones who live next door. This Scripture prompts us to know your neighbors. Not just see them in passing, waving and hoping that they don't talk to you, but knowing them.
Last but certainly not least, there is a time and season for everything.
No one likes to wait. When the light turns green and the car in front of us doesn't go, we let them know our horn works. Like a hunter we survey the registers at the store to find the shortest line. No one likes to wait. Yet there is an important interpersonal principle from this proverb of waiting for the right time and season.
God has given us the Bible so we can be in a relationship with him and with each other. Be a blessing rather than a curse to your neighbors.
Rob Hurtgen is a husband, father, minister and writer. Read more from him at www.robhurtgen.wordpress.com.