Q: Our neighbor is one of the grouchiest people I’ve ever met. He always looks on the dark side of things, and never has a good word to say about anybody, and yet he claims to be a Christian. Is this the way Christians are supposed to act? — A.L.
A: I’m sorry your neighbor is this way; no one likes being around a grouchy person. Jesus certainly wasn’t this way; people wanted to be around him – even little children. The Bible says, “Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all” (Philippians 4:4-5).
Only God knows your neighbor’s heart, of course, and whether or not his faith in Christ is sincere. But even if it is, your neighbor is missing out on one of God’s greatest gifts to us, the gift of joy. Even in the midst of circumstances that may be confusing or hard to bear, we still can have inner peace and joy when we know Christ. Jesus said, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete” (John 15:11).
How is this possible? It’s possible first of all because when we know Christ, we know God is ultimately in control, and he can be trusted to see us through even life’s darkest days. It’s possible also because we know God is still at work, and he will never abandon us. In addition, when we come to Christ, God comes to live within us by his spirit. The Bible says, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace” (Galatians 5:22).
Don’t let your neighbor’s bad example keep you from Christ, but invite him into your heart and life today. Then pray for your neighbor, that he too may discover the joy of Christ’s presence every day.
Write “My Answer,” Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; or go to BillyGraham.org.