I recently found an old acquaintance on Facebook. As I perused his bio info, his religious views caught my attention. Many of my friends fill in words like “Conservative,” “Christian,” or maybe even an “I love Jesus” . . .
Mark’s simply says: Ask my neighbor.
Wow. I’ve been thinking about that all week long. I did not take Mark’s comment to mean have I explicitly stated my beliefs, but rather do I live them out? I’m not sure my physical neighbors even know my name, much less could discern my religious views. What kind of opportunity am I missing to demonstrate Christ to them?
On top of that, at home the real us comes out. We may be great at pretending to be someone else or a different family at church or at the store, but in our homes we tend to let our guard down. A good friend recently considered buying the house next door to us. She commented to me something to the effect of “I’d be a little nervous to live next door to you. You might see me in moments I’m not sure I want you to see. I mean, you could potentially hear me yelling at my kids or husband. . .” And she’s right. Close relationship or not, your neighbors can see things that go on that others do not, just because they are physically present during a vulnerable time. Our neighbors can say whether or not we practice the religious views we espouse.
And I won’t even go on to the other metaphorical meanings of neighbor that we could explore, like those who are suffering in Darfur or Iraq or China.
When it comes down to it, I think it matters more what my neighbor says about what my religious views are than what I might tell you myself. And for me, that is very convicting.
So what would your neighbor say? Are you satisfied with that answer?