25 November 2021

Proverbs 25:17

Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house—
    too much of you, and they will hate you.

A common mistake in social relations is to presume too much upon courtesy and neighborliness. A good neighbor will be courteous and friendly. But that does not mean he desires to have the kind of close friendship which allows us to step into his house at all occasions. A colleague may be friendly with us, but that does not mean that he welcomes us to stop into his office or at his desk frequently to chat.

There are relational boundaries which an observant person sees and respects. Even in close friendships there are still boundaries, and we are to respect them. That is how we build trust and develop closer friendships. If I know you will respect my boundaries, I am more likely to remove them for you. If I see you crossing over them, I will keep myself at more of a distance.

A friendship is not measured by how often one may “step into the house” of a neighbor. Rather, it is measured by the blessing of the time that friends are together. Like the person in the previous proverb who gets sick from too much honey, so a friendship may sicken from over exposure. A healthy friendship allows space between friends so that when they are together the time is savored.


Psalm 114

When Israel came out of Egypt,
    Jacob from a people of foreign tongue,
Judah became God’s sanctuary,
    Israel his dominion.

The sea looked and fled,
    the Jordan turned back;
the mountains leaped like rams,
    the hills like lambs.

Why was it, sea, that you fled?
    Why, Jordan, did you turn back?
Why, mountains, did you leap like rams,
    you hills, like lambs?

Tremble, earth, at the presence of the Lord,
    at the presence of the God of Jacob,
who turned the rock into a pool,
    the hard rock into springs of water.