This verse talks about the value of relationships. At the beginning it speaks of a “friend” or “neighbor” – the same word in Hebrew. In the ancient world people didn’t get around much, so their neighbors were their friends and their friends were their neighbors. Here it suggests we should not burn any bridges in relationships with two generations – our own friends and friends of our parents.
The second part of the verse is about family, particularly my brother. I am advised here to not take my difficulties to my brother when I am going through tough times. This seems to be curious advice, based on a modern proverb we all know – “blood is thicker than water.”
Yet, the insight this verse offers to us is the reminder that family tends to feel obligated to support us – whether they want to or not – until the day they just can’t take it anymore! That’s how it went for many guys here at Helping Up Mission. Friends, on the other hand, choose to support us – or not.
So, when we get a good friend in our lives, we need to be sure and nourish that relationship. We will need their help, advice or support someday – especially the day when family has had enough of me!
If we treat people – family and friends – appropriately, they will be there on the day we need them. And as responsible adults, we might even be there to offer some help to them some day when they need it, as well!