Proverbs 11:12

Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense,
but a man of understanding remains silent.

Why is it foolish to belittle one’s neighbor? He can get even! He can play his music loud, have his dog use your yard, etc. He can make daily life miserable. A wise person understands this. He keeps his views about his neighbor’s habits and tastes to himself. He does not take it upon himself to “improve” his neighbor with “helpful” comments.

Why else is it foolish to belittle one’s neighbor? Because we incur our Lord’s displeasure who commanded us to love our neighbor. Far from belittling our neighbor, we are to look for ways to show him respect.

Why else is it foolish to belittle one’s neighbor? Because we sabotage our own intentions. If our neighbor needs Christ, we ruin whatever prayers and efforts we may make to witness, because we have offended him. Perhaps what we belittle are behaviors that do need changing; nevertheless, because we have shown our neighbor disrespect, he will not listen to us and rebuff whatever help we may offer.

Even if we belittle our neighbor in private, such an attitude harms our witness. God does not honor such an attitude. And if we inwardly mock a neighbor, it will somehow come out in the way we relate to him.

Why else is it foolish to belittle our neighbor? There is so much in us to belittle. But God, instead of mocking us, showed us the highest honor by sending his Son to die for us. Such is the attitude God calls on us to have for our neighbor. Today, what regard will you show for your neighbors who live next to you?

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