Walk in wisdom toward them that are outsiders, redeeming the time.
Read Chapter 4
Since we must live among unbelievers and mix with them in worldly business, Paul urges us to be wise about the possibility of creating a stir, lest we give these folk an opportunity for blaspheming God or engaging in persecution. Why then should you carry on business with anyone that you know to be a source of contention and trouble? Thus, Paul admonishes us to use religious speech opportunely both as to time and place. But if anyone is difficult, be silent. Different courses of action are suitable for dealing with powerful people, with people of middle or lower stations in life. One deals one way with gentle persons, another way with those who are filled with anger. This is what it means to redeem the time. .
Redeeming the time: This expression occurs also in the epistle to the Ephesians, and seems to insinuate to the faithful to be on their guard not to irritate the Gentiles, nor to provoke them to persecution. Remember, says he, the times are bad; conduct yourselves with prudence; gain time, procure peace, and remain in silence. This was written towards the end of the reign of Nero, as cruel a prince as ever lived. (Calmet)
“Redeeming,” he says, “the time”: that is, the present time is short. Now Paul said this because he did not want them to be crafty, nor hypocrites (for this is not a part of wisdom, but of senselessness). What then? In matters where outsiders are not harming you, don’t give them an opportunity…. If you are going to experience conflict with the outside world, Paul writes, let the conflict have its origin in your preaching—and not in any other source.
What Christ said to His disciples, that does Paul also now advise. And what did Christ say? Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. Matthew 10:16 That is, be upon your guard, giving them no handle against you. For therefore it is added, towards them that are without, in order that we may know that against our own members we have no need of so much caution as against those without. For where brethren are, there are both many allowances and kindnesses. There is indeed need of caution even here; but much more without, for it is not the same to be among enemies and foes, and among friends.
Then because he had alarmed them, see how again he encourages them; Redeeming, he says, the time: that is, the present time is short. Now this he said, not wishing them to be crafty, nor hypocrites, (for this is not a part of wisdom, but of senselessness,) but what? In matters wherein they harm you not, he means, give them no h...