DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: We moved to a new town recently, and we seem to be the only family in our neighborhood that goes to church. Those I’ve talked with say they don’t think it’s important, and anyway they say they have better things to do on weekends. How should we react? We don’t want to come across as conceited or “holier than thou.” — K.S.
DEAR K.S.: I’m glad you want to have a good relationship with your neighbors and don’t want them to label you as self-important. Not only would this cut you off from them, but it could also make them even less open to letting God become part of their lives.
Have you ever noticed how people reacted to Jesus during his days on Earth? Some admittedly were hostile to him, no matter what he did, but most people gladly welcomed him and eagerly crowded around him. Why was this? The reason, I believe, was because they sensed he loved them and wanted to help them. Just days before Jesus was put to death by the Romans, the Bible says, “The large crowd listened to him with delight” (Mark 12:37).
Ask God to help you be like Jesus, reaching out to your neighbors with love, concern and compassion. Ask him also to help you be genuine friends, not cutting yourselves off from them but sharing in their lives. Pray for them also, that God will help them realize their need of him. The Bible says, “As we have opportunity, let us do good to all people” (Galatians 6:10).
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At the same time, don’t be ashamed of your commitment to Christ or your church. Remember, only Christ can meet the deepest needs of the human heart — in your life, and in the lives of your neighbors.
Write “My Answer,” Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; or go to BillyGraham.org.
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