Another church asked me this month to write a devotional for their Bible Challenge website (http://www.thebiblechallenge.org) on Proverbs 25:17. I thought I would share it here also:
A woman told her husband, “You don’t look at me and you don’t love me anymore.” He quickly shot back, “How can I look at you and still love you?”. Okay, that doesn’t seem to nice, however, there is an underlying principal at play here that when understood, helps relationships from getting to this point.
The simple principal is: “Familiarity breeds contempt.” We all need space. Have you ever noticed in relationships that the closer you try to become the harder it sometimes becomes? Why? Because often we are not giving enough space to the other person, we start to control them by our presence.
The Proverbs point this out:
Proverbs 25:17 (NIV)
Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house—too much of you, and they will hate you.
Overstating ones welcome in any relationship can cause harm. I believe that one reason my marriage works because my wife and I give each other space. Funny thing is, I love her that much to do so. Indeed, we have grown together, not apart. After 29 years we still give each other space.
This is true among friends, love interest, family, co-workers and yes….even neighbors.
So, here is the key: Give each other space and you will appreciate one another all the more. Let relationships develop gradually, and then nurture them. Few of us can live under the microscope of constant attention (and eventual scrutiny). Do this and close relationships can flourish and you can grow together rather than apart.