(29) Devise not evil against thy neighbour, seeing he dwelleth securely by thee. (30) Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm.Proverbs 3:29-30
Verses 27 and 28, our text yesterday, refer to doing good and living generously with those around us. We are to help where we can. Verses 29 and 30 speak to not doing harm to our neighbors. It is unwise to create strife between neighbors without cause. Peace between people is to be protected. There is value in harmony between people. Jesus said this about peacemakers:
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.Matthew 5:9
The apostle Paul said in Romans:
Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. (18) If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. (19) Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.Romans 12:17-19
This does not mean that there is no time to defend yourself or your family. Protecting the innocent is necessary. There is such a thing as a just war. Yet wisdom suggests that peace is valuable. We should not do things to needlessly cause conflict. What does this look like?
1. Be quick to forgive. Our neighbor will sin against us at some point. We, as believers, have been forgiven by God. We forgive because we have been forgiven.
2. Show grace. Similarly we have been given what we do not deserve. We should be conduits of God’s grace to others as we have been the recipients of God’s grace.
3. Be reasonable and gentle. Being gentle does not mean that we are weak. It means that we know how to appropriately use our strength. We are reasonable in our dealings with others. We are able to see their point of view, and take their point of view into consideration when we deal with them.
3. Provide for ourselves through hard work. When we are responsible for ourselves and our family we are less tempted to try to live off of others. We are less tempted to defraud. Ephesians says it this way:
Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.Ephesians 4:28
Is there a behavior or attitude towards someone that needs to change in your life? Repentance to God and to them is the wise response.