We should treat our neighbors and coworkers as if we will be standing beside them in church next Sunday.
29 Do not plot harm against your neighbor, who lives trustfully near you.
Chapter 3 of Proverbs can be broken down into sets.
- The first 12 verses have to do with our relationship with the Father.
- Verses 13-18 have to do with wisdom, which is personified. We know wisdom to be Christ (1 Corinthians 1:30).
- Verses 19-20 tell of the LORD’s wisdom, understanding and knowledge based upon creation.
- Verses 21-26 speak of the confidence we can have in wisdom and discretion.
- Verses 27-32 address how we treat our neighbor–and fellow worshiper. In those days, everyone went to the temple or synagogue to “have church.” Running into a neighbor and/or business associate at the temple could be good or bad, depending on how we have treated them.
- Verses 33-35 deal with our relationship with the Father again, but with conditions.
God wants us to see that when we come together under one roof to lift up the name of Jesus (have church), we had better be in good relations with our fellow worshipers. Here’s what Jesus had to say about it:
23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:23-24
Notice that it’s not “if you have something against your brother or sister.” Jesus deals with our own grudges in another place. This is about dealing with those whom we have treated wrongly, at least, in their minds. It’s important for us to be of one mind when we worship our Lord. He calls for unity; how can we have unity if we have mistreated family? Paul says this,
7 The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? 1 Corinthians 6:7
We need not worry about justice. Jesus will take care of those who wrong us. We have just better make sure that we are right with our neighbors and with the Lord. Our attitude is what determines how we feel about our neighbors and how we treat them. Any justification we have used lies heavy on our conscience. Jesus would have us come to Him for an attitude adjustment. How often? As often as we need one! Let’s let Jesus give us His attitude toward our neighbors and then check with Him often throughout the day to make sure that we still have it.
Abba, You are so wise. Thank You for Your Spirit who reminds us of the things we need to fix in our lives. Thank You that You empower us to do it. I realize that You could fix them Yourself, but You want to work with us to do it together. It’s part of the process of growing and a real part of being with You and doing with You. May You remind us often each day, Lord. Amen.