25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.
One of life’s blessings are good neighbors and a good neighborhood. When the neighborhood relationships work, life can be so much more pleasant and enjoyable. With good neighbors you can share food and share life. They will watch your house (as you watch theirs) when you are gone. They may even have children the same age as yours that become lifelong friends.
But inevitably there is conflict with the neighbors. They don’t mow their yards as often as you would like. You just can’t believe the color they painted their house ... ugh. Their dog barks at all hours of the night. They have too many late night parties (where you weren’t invited). Finally, you wish they would stop parking in front of your house. After all, isn’t that your space? Our reactions to these kinds of situations “give the devil a foothold” in our lives.
But, as Paul instructs us in these verses in Ephesians and as Jesus does in his second great commandment (Mark 12:31), the relationship with our neighbors holds a special place. We must not spread lies and gossip about our neighbors. Even if we occasionally get angry about what they do (as I’m sure they do with us), do not let that anger hang on. In fact, resolve it immediately! “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.” We must take special care of these relationships.
So remember, while we are Called to the highest standards of Christ-like behavior in all our relationships, this especially true in our relationships with our neighbors!