Continuing the theme of daily dealings in relationships (:27-28), this verse discuss how I should treat someone close to me. They’re not family, but my “neighbor.”
Also translated “friend” or “companion,” in the ancient world, my neighbor was my friend and my friend was my neighbor – because I hardly knew anyone else! People lived in small walled cities or even smaller unwalled villages and didn’t really get out much.
So “your neighbor who lives trustfully near you” should be understood as your friend, a basically good person. Yet, the verse notes that I might actually find myself considering to “plot harm against” them.
Not cool! But I don’t doubt that, at times, we’ve all had such thoughts about one or another of our friends.
I think we’re supposed to understand this verse being much more about me than about them. They won’t be perfect and have done some things that really tick me off – but I’m responsible to face and deal with my own thoughts and emotions.
And I’m their neighbor, too. Since I’m not perfect either, I’m going to need them to look past and get over some things that I have done, too!
Our verse represents the most basic element of civilized society – and we can do it!