The book of Proverbs offers many directions on being a good neighbor. It is our duty as followers of Christ to behave like Christ. King Solomon, the writer of most of the book, desired to govern his nation in a godly way and to guide his people to live according to God’s will, also. Through prayer, he gained wisdom that he shares with us through God’s holy word: The Bible.
How Should we Treat Our Neighbors?
If a family member asks for something small and you can act immediately, typically, you do so. Treat your neighbor no differently.
Proverbs 3:28 specifically says, “Do not say to your neighbor, ‘Come back later; I’ll give it tomorrow – when you now have it with you” (New International Version).
Friendships blossom from generosity. This means more than just things. Yes, if your neighbor asks to borrow a cup of sugar, by all means, give a cup of sugar. But do not hide your spiritual gifts, either. Generosity of time is a powerful way to share the Holy Spirit. Do you see the single mom next door struggling with a broken lawn mower?
If you know what the trouble could be, do not hide in your home. Offer your talent of fixing things. Want an even more challenging application? If a neighbor confides in you about a struggle he or she is having, try not to say, “I’ll pray for you.”
Instead… pray! Right then and there! Do not hoard God’s abundant love for yourself.
Treat Them as a Child of God
Remember how God treats you. He fills you with the Holy Spirit and covers you in grace rather than condemnation. His presence guides you and protects you. Your neighbor should feel equally safe in your presence. He should not have to fear that you are devising a plan to harm him or his property.
This may sound obvious but consider your words. Do you muddy a neighbor’s reputation when gossiping with another neighbor? Always think good and pure thoughts about others. Afterall, what you do to others, you do onto the Lord (Proverbs 19:17).
Forgive the Way God Forgives You
God doesn’t dwell on your past mistakes. He doesn’t give up on the relationship with you when you offend Him, disappoint Him, or let Him down. Neither should you dwell on ways in which your neighbor was imperfect. Instead, show love, grace, patience, and mercy.
Thank You for sending Your son, Jesus Christ, to live as a human and be the good neighbor from which I can learn. Help me share my faith in you with my neighbors. Let my love for you be evident in the way I live my life.
I want to honor and respect my neighbors. Help me understand through devotionals such as this where I can be more like Jesus. When there is tension, help me to look on my neighbors with love and patience instead of hatred and anger.
Guide me and teach me how to be the proverbial neighbor of which you speak in the Holy Bible. Please forgive me for times when I have fallen short of that model. I ask these things in Jesus’ name.