Respect Your Neighbor’s Space

Reading the Word

Let your foot be seldom in your neighbor’s house, lest he have his fill of you and hate you.(Proverbs 25:17, ESV)

Understanding and Applying the Word

Today’s proverb begins with the phrase “Let your foot be seldom in your neighbor’s house.” The word seldom is also translated as “precious” in some translations. The word precious is not a bad translation, but it can have two interpretations. Precious can mean something that is greatly desired, but it can also mean something that is rare or scarce, like precious metals. The idea of scarcity is the point of this proverb.

Why would this proverb tell us to make our time in our neighbor’s house scarce? Spending time with a neighbor or friend can be a wonderful thing, but it also possible to wear out your welcome by not respecting boundaries and privacy. If you are always there, you can become a burden. Be a good neighbor and look to build your relationships with others, but understand that part of being a good neighbor is respecting the time and space of others.

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