How does God want you to treat people? Two verses in Proverbs 3 challenge us regarding our relationships with those around us:
:27 “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.”
:29 “Do not devise harm against your neighbor, while he lives securely beside you.”
People may tend to focus on one of these more than the other:
Many might say, “I would never devise harm against my neighbor” like :29 refers to, and consequently feel pretty good about their righteousness towards God and man, because they have not done anything negative towards them. But as :27 makes clear, “not doing evil” towards others is not the extent of our responsibility towards them.
We are also commanded not to withhold good from people. This takes our responsibility towards them to another level entirely! Not only are we to avoid harming them, we are to seek to positively do good for them: have you said something encouraging to them, or shared the gospel with them? Have you done anything to help them with a specific need? Have you even cared enough to notice what their needs might be?
We must realize that it is not enough in God’s sight merely not to harm people. We are to actively seek to do them good. Remember Proverbs 3:27 as you evaluate your relationships with those around you. And remember James 4:17 as well: “Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.”