Becoming a Better Neighbor
“Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” (Colossians 3:12-14, NRSV)
Christians are different from other folks. We're supposed to stand out like a sore thumb
when we're in a group of people who aren't Christian. People ought to be able to spot us
from a mile away. If we must tell people we're Christians for them to know that about us, we're not very good Christians. And I'm not talking about people knowing we're
Christian because we go around quoting Bible verses and talking about church. I'm
talking about the Spirit of Jesus Christ being evident in every interaction with others.
A police officer pulled over a motorist for acting aggressively at an intersection. The
driver had blown his horn at the car in front of him immediately after the light turned
green. When the police officer approached the vehicle, the motorist asked why the
officer had stopped him, and the patrolman said he suspected the car had been stolen.
Aghast at such a charge, the driver said the officer needed probable cause to pull him
over. The officer politely said, “I saw the bumper sticker on the car with a Christian
symbol on it, and I knew no Christian would act the way you were acting, so I assumed
it wasn't your car, establishing probable cause.” As Terry shared in his sermon last
As God's beloved and chosen people, we are not given any privileges beyond salvation
in Jesus' name. Christians must give up all rights to become servants of God and
others—not just other Christians—but ALL others. We're not set apart by God because
we're more special than non-believers. God sets us apart to be a witness to the love of
Jesus Christ for the world and as a sign of God's acceptance of all his children. Love is
the distinctive trait that sets us apart for the world to discern that we are Christians.
Again, if we must tell people that we're Christians, we're not bearing the marks of God's
love for others.
Your neighbors may know that you go to church; however, do they know you are a
Christian? If so, what would they characterize about you that makes it evident that you
are a Christian? According to Colossians, these are some of the traits we hope our
neighbors can share about us: Compassionate, kind, humble, meek, patient, forgiving,
and loving. If we lack any of these traits, let's become better neighbors to share the love
of Jesus Christ with the lost.
— Senior Pastor Rev. Dale Cohen