Verse 27-28 – The Bible records much practical advice concerning finances, including instructions regarding payment of loans or services rendered. If we have enough money to reimburse a loan or pay for the work someone did for us, we should pay promptly and not put it off. Many friendships are strained if the borrower puts off paying back what was given to him as a temporary loan. These verses say that if we have it, we must not turn our neighbor away and ask him to come back later.
How should we respond to situations in which we are asked to help someone? If we are able, we should help those in need, but this does not mean giving money to everyone that asks. There are many “con artists” in the world. Rather, these verses refer to neighbors and friends, meaning that we are to help those we know. We must always pray about what we are to give. Sometimes money is not the answer to someone’s need. Instead, we may need to give of ourselves in time and effort to really help in the matter.
Although these verses do not refer to strangers, the Bible addresses this kind of giving also. My husband was a pastor for many years, and since our church building was located on a busy highway, we had many people come in and ask for our help. We always tried to help the best way we could. Many transients whose breath smelled of alcohol asked us for money. We knew that when they asked for money for food or gas, they would usually buy more alcohol. After praying about this problem, we came up with an answer. We arranged with a local restaurant and gas station near the church to pay for meals and gas for people who asked for money for these things. In this manner, we knew our money was helping them, not hurting them. Of course, we always prayed for them, too. Even if we cannot help by giving money, we can always pray for people. Prayer is a form of giving also.
Verse 29 – The Amplified Bible translates this verse this way: “Do not contrive or dig up or cultivate evil against your neighbor, who dwells trustingly and confidently beside you.” We should always try to live peaceably with all men. We should especially strive for peace with our neighbors because we all need one another at times. In the future, we may be the ones asking for help instead of the ones called to give it. “If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well” (James 2:8).