Good Fences Make Good Neighbors?

by David Apple April 29, 2014

Proverbs 25:17

Let your foot be seldom in your neighbor’s house,
lest he have his fill of you and hate you.  ESV

And when you find a friend, don't outwear your welcome;
show up at all hours and he'll soon get fed up.  The Message

Matthew Henry wrote,

It is a piece of civility to visit our neighbours sometimes, to show our respect to them and concern for them, and to cultivate and improve mutual acquaintance and love, and that we may have both the satisfaction and advantage of their conversation. It is wisdom, as well as good manners, not to be troublesome to our friends in our visiting them, not to visit too often, nor stay too long, nor contrive to come at meal-time, nor make ourselves busy in the affairs of their families; hereby we make ourselves cheap, mean, and burdensome. Thy neighbour, who is thus plagued and haunted with thy visits, will be weary of thee and hate thee.

I am reminded of three well-used phrases:

  • Everything in moderation.
  • Familiarity breeds contempt.
  • After the third day fish and company begin to smell.

Thankfully, we have a friend in Jesus. How much better a friend is God than any other. We are never asked to withdraw our foot from his house, nor the throne of his grace. The more we come to him the better. We are always welcome.