Just Be Nice To People, Part III

Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.  Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and to morrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee.  Devise not evil against thy neighbour, seeing he dwelleth securely by thee.  Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm.  Envy thou not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways.

Proverbs 3:27-31

In looking at these verses about dealing with the people in our lives, we come to the third verse in the passage: “Devise not evil against thy neighbour, seeing he dwelleth securely by thee.”  This is a good piece of advice for dealing with our neighbours.

This verse tells us to not devise evil against our neighbour.  Of course, we shouldn’t devise evil against anyone, but especially not our neighbours.  The reason given for this advice is “seeing he dwelleth securely by thee.”  That is a very practical thought.  Of all the people in the world that we should be friendly and civil towards, our neighbours should be first on the list.  They live and sleep right next door to us.  If we get angry with someone, we can try to avoid them.  But avoiding our neighbours isn’t easy.  Our paths cross often.  There is nothing worse than being reminded of an argument over and over again.

Our neighbour here could apply to our physical neighbour.  It could also apply to anyone who is close to us: our friends, our fellow church members, or our co-workers.  We could apply this advice to any of those people as well.  Anyone who “dwelleth securely by us” would be a poor person to “devise evil against.”  We need to take care of our neighbours, whoever they may be.

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