Make the Good News Attractive to Your Neighbors
1 It would certainly make us rejoice if our neighbors—people who live on the same street, or who rent apartments close to ours—were to accept the good news. No doubt you have called at their doors when in the field service; perhaps you have also tried to witness to them at other times. Is there anything else that could be done?
2 Open your Bible to Hebrews 13:15, 16 and read it carefully. Notice that, in addition to urging us to ‘make public declaration to Jehovah’s name,’ it says: “Do not forget the doing of good and the sharing of things with others, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” Remember, in his parable about the “good Samaritan” Jesus illustrated what it means to love one’s neighbor. He showed that it includes coming to his aid in physical ways when there is genuine need. (Luke 10:25-37) And in his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus made it plain that such kindnesses were not to be reserved only for those who happened to be “nice” to us. (Matt. 5:43-48) Do we keep our eyes open for opportunities to apply this counsel from God’s Word toward those who live in our neighborhood?
HOW TO DO IT
3 They know that we talk about neighbor love, but it means more to them when they see us show it in ways that they can appreciate. When people move into your neighborhood, do you stop by to welcome them? If you know that someone is ill, do you offer to be of help? While we are no part of the world, and we avoid getting involved in its social affairs, we are very much interested in people, and there are many opportunities to show this by acts of genuine kindness.
4 It may not be opportune to discuss the Bible on each occasion when we extend some kindness to a neighbor. As the apostle Peter counseled Christian wives whose husbands are not believers, there are times when it is better to try to win others to the truth by one’s conduct, without direct preaching. (1 Pet. 3:1) If the conversation opens the way to draw attention to the hope of the Kingdom, do it in a natural way. Do not feel that, once you begin, you have to give an entire discourse. Make a statement or two, then pause to see what response you get. (Notice how Jesus did this, as illustrated at John 4:7-15.) If no interest is shown, perhaps it would be better to wait for another time before pursuing that subject further. But keep your objective in mind; over a period of time you may find that you can accomplish more than if you try to do it all at once.
5 Some of our brothers and sisters have had fine results while doing this. In New York state a sister says of herself: “I had a desire to have my own Bible study right among my neighbors.” She decided to start off by getting to know them, simply by being friendly. Not right at the outset, but in time, there were openings to give a witness. One neighbor asked what her religion was. Soon a study was started. Others became interested. Three women and two husbands are now fellow Witnesses. Notice that patience was shown; friendly relations were established before she tried to witness.
6 Another publisher simply offered some new neighbors the use of her phone until theirs was installed. Not the first day, but in time, the conversation led to a witness about the resurrection. The publisher deliberately kept it brief, not wanting to overwhelm the neighbor with too much all at once. But in a few days the neighbor lady brought it up again. Now a study is being conducted regularly.
7 In Ohio, a woman’s leg was broken in an accident. A neighbor, a Witness, kindly cared for her, cleaned her house and cooked meals for her and her family, and, as she did so, she spoke about the Kingdom, when appropriate. The genuine Christian kindness shown moved the woman to have a Bible study. Now she and her three children are doing well in the congregation. Of course, not everyone shown such Christian kindness has become a Witness, but many of them are now much more receptive, because their personal experience has convinced them that Jehovah’s Witnesses really do care about their neighbors.
8 Showing kindness to our neighbors should be a normal part of our lives, not just a means to an end. But if you realize that, in your case, it needs some cultivation, why not make some definite plans as to what you could do and when. It may well be that, “as a result of your fine works of which they are eyewitnesses,” some of them will “glorify God.”—1 Pet. 2:12.