What Will The Neighbors Think?
Many of us could care less what the neighbors think. We don't mess with them and we just as soon that they kept their distance.That attitude is a rotten attitude for a Christian. In fact a true Christian just couldn't have that attitude!sm
So what can we do about our neighbors thoughts about us. It is absolute that we cannot control or manage them, but we can do things to influence those thoughts.
First, we must stop being weird! It is amazing how many Christians interpret the word peculiar as weird and set out to show how weird a person can be. God is not honored by our weirdness and most neighbors become frightened of such behaviour.
Second we must not appear as ticket agents for Hell. Many of us think that our main job is to warn the wicked about Hell. We should do that after we have exhausted everything else! The pay is better and rewards are greater for ticket agents to Heaven.
Communication removes fodder of gossip. One of the best ways to influence and alleviate suspicious thoughts is conversation. We are the ones who can and should initiate conversations with our neighbor.
It is here that we have to talk in real time about the real neighbor. "Preacher, My neighbor is my worst enemy!" Is that so? Why is he an enemy? Is it your fault or his? If it is your fault, you should ask the Lord how to approach your neighbor for forgiveness. If it is your neighbor's fault. Is it so bad that you want to see him go to Hell for it? There is a very serious passage of scripture that says you better not carry that attitude to the time of Christ's judgment. It might even have something to do with the fact that you are not sure the Lord is meeting you at the altar.
Most of us as Christians, have neighbors who are afraid that we are on a safari for their souls. Again it is mostly thoughts and is prompted by general opinions about evangelism.
A soul winner must win the lost soul to himself before he can win the lost soul to Jesus; even if you only have a few minutes.If we are going to have friends, we must show ourselves friendly. Prov. 18:24
"Do you need any help?" This question has opened countless numbers of homes and hearts to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. A flooded carburetor became the avenue to heaven for a lost soul I once encountered. "Jumper cables" and "Inflation cans" can be tools for opening a heart for the Gospel. Broken routines can be an excuse to "just check on a neighbor." "I haven't seen you out for the last few days, so I thought I would just give you a call to see if everything is o.k."
We should always include the Lord in our plans and attempts to reach our neighbor. Sometimes, the Lord is the only one who can, "arrange things" to win that estranged neighbor. If God is not willing that any should perish, then there is no doubt in my mind that he will not come to our aid in impossible situations.
One more thing while I have space and without taking up more space. I wonder if I could replace the word "neighbor" in this article with the word "brother" or "sister?"
Lets take it another step. How about your own Church and its neighbors. It is very strange that most Fundamental, Independent, Baptist Churches have neighbors that have never darkened the doors of that Church. It would be a good research project to find out exactly why this is true.
I could not describe a better neighborhood than one where all the neighbors went to the same Church and were having real Christian fellowship in the neighborhood.