In this conversational format, topics discussed include: repentance, boasting, slavery, honour, hospitality, cleansing and covering and family issues including adoption.
Two brothers fight continually so one asks a friend’s advice.
The friend visits again, and they talk about how very different the disciples were, and yet they all had to repent, to turn around, even the ‘good ones’, and change from the inside.
The friend comes again, and this time it’s the wife fighting with the woman next door about which one has better things.
Sometimes words hide what is in our hearts.
We try to cover our feelings, and lie because we are afraid, and it’s a burden to us.
The friend and the brother talk about freedom.
Everyone who sins is a slave to sin
Sin is like quicksand. If we confess…He will forgive
Everyone needs honour and respect, but before God we are all beggars.
The friend prays a blessing on the brother and tells him the sweetest word to hear is “well done”, rather than to be mocked.
A young boy from the brother’s family was killed by tribal enemies. The friends talk about the treadmill of revenge and how to stop it.
The friends talk about having guests and what a blessing it is, not just a custom or a duty.
Customs can be burdens - Hospitality from the heart is best
Despising kindness is an offense.
The friend talks about the offense, saying how we all have offended God, and yet He sent His heavenly bread of life to us while we were still His enemies.
The friend tells a legend of an emperor who cowardly punished others for his own wrongs.
The friends have fun with greetings, then talk of how true respect is best, but false courtesies and flatteries are just words.
The friend tells a “Mulla Nasruddin” story which illustrates how different our words can be from the truth.
Sin is a ‘heart’ disease - Blind to oneself, seeing others.
The two talk again of being blind to the inside of ourselves. The friend shares a story of a Haji who had a tomb built and went to see it.
The men talk about the problem of being unclean, and that the washing of hands and feet cannot cleanse our hearts.
The two discuss how a handicapped child is treated differently, that even his parents are ashamed of him.
The two friends talk about future veiling for the brother’s daughters, now only 3 and 4, and the many ideas about this.
The friend talks again of covering and share a story of how a powerful couple allow their servant to be jailed for their crimes but are afraid she will expose them.
The brother tells of a time when his mother was so anxious for her desperately sick daughter, she prayed, “I would take your pain and sickness on myself, I would be sick for you.”
The brother shares how his nephew had gone abroad, is now returning, and is rumoured to have been living a wild life, so bringing shame on the family.
The friend shares the folk story of a man who had two wives but loved the second one more.
What makes a person or a family noble or valuable?
Again, the talk is of families and their roots.
An uncle has died, and the sons are fighting over the land.
The brother talks of his cousin, who was childless until given a baby boy from the extended family.
The friends speak again of the blessings of family and children, and how orphans suffer without parents or people to love them.
Family is God’s pattern. The friends agree that family gives us identity, and we are secure in that place.
The brother has an irritating piece of chaff in his eye. Sin is like that chaff.
We need the mirror of God’s word to show us who we really are.