Q: My neighbor claims to be a Christian, but he’s about the most negative and critical person I know. According to him everyone else is either stupid or wrong (or both), and I get tired of his constant complaining. Jesus wasn’t like this, was he? — S.G.
A: No, Jesus wasn’t like this; instead of putting people down, he sought to win them over by his love and compassion. On one occasion, the Bible says, “The large crowd listened to him with delight” (Mark 12:37).
This doesn’t mean Jesus refused to rebuke those who were doing wrong, not at all. In fact, some of his strongest words were directed at those who distorted God’s Word and were interested only in their own power or position. But even then, his message was one of forgiveness and hope, if they would only repent and open their hearts to him. Remember: Christ came not only to take us to heaven someday, but to change our hearts and fill us with his love.
We cannot be filled with Jesus’ love and still be proud or self-righteous. We cannot be filled with Jesus’ love and still be negative and critical. Nor can we be filled with Jesus’ love and yet despise those he came to save. The Bible says, “As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love” (2 John 6).
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Pray for your neighbor, that he may repent of his negative attitudes and allow Jesus’ love to fill his life. Pray too that Christ will fill your heart and make you an example to others of his love. The Bible says, “Walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:2).
Write to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201 or go to BillyGraham.org.