by | Jun 22, 2023 | Example, Great Commission, New Life, Witnessing

How would you react if you knew an informant lived in your neighbourhood?

And no, I’m not talking about a “Mrs. Kravitz” kind of informant either. No, this one isn’t a gossip queen, set on trying to figure out all of your “weirdness”. I’m talking about the kind of informant who will snitch on you. One that will turn you in, get you in trouble, maybe even put your life or the lives of your loved ones in danger. If you had that kind of an informant in your neighbourhood, would it change your habits? Would it affect your daily patterns?

I’m happy to report that I have no first-hand experience with this kind of informant. This isn’t the case for many Christians, however. Many in India, for example, must consider this fact as they walk to church or meet up with other followers of Christ in their homes. In India, informants for Hindu nationalist groups live in nearly every village. They watch the activities of Christians and report them. This often leads to Christians being attacked.

It all makes me wonder…. If I knew there were informants in my neighbourhood, would this knowledge change my actions? Would I stop going to church? Stop fellowshiping with other Christians? Would I start hiding my Bible and choose to only pray behind closed doors?

This all makes me think. If there were an informant in my neighbourhood, would they even be able to tell I’m a Christian? I mean, during the pandemic, I tended to go to church online. My habit is not to read my Bible in front of other people, and I don’t tend to pray in public. I’m pretty shy, so most of my Christian friends are through online ministries and I can’t remember the last time I was visited by a church pastor or elders of the church. Of course I do try to live a Christian lifestyle, but since I don’t go out all that much, I might not be easily branded as “Christian”. Therefore, it might not matter if there were an informant in the neighbourhood or not! I’d still be okay!

But wait. If an informant wouldn’t know I’m a Christian, how will my unsaved neighbours know I’m a Christian? How will they recognize anything in me that they might want for themselves? True enough, I might be safe from an informant, I might be protecting myself and my family from being attacked; but how could I fulfill the Great Commission if there were nothing in my lifestyle to identify me with Christ?

The Bible tells us that we have responsibilities towards one another:

1. We have the responsibility of serving one another: “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” (1 Peter 4:10 NIV).

2. We also have the responsibility of helping each other in times of need: “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2 NIV).

3. We have the responsibility of encouraging one another: “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up…” (1 Thess. 5:11 NIV).

4. We have the responsibility to pray for one another: “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16 NIV). And finally,

5. We also have the responsibility of sharing the gospel with the unsaved: “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘… Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:18-20 NIV).

The Bible also tells us that when we do good deeds, we must do them in the name of the Lord: “Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.” (Mark 9:41 NIV)

How can we fulfill these God-given responsibilities in the name of the Lord when nothing we do identifies us with Christ?

Apparently, many of the attacks on Christians in India go unpunished. Why? Because the victims of these informants do not press charges. This is their way of showing forgiveness, of living out the ways of Christ, of helping others to want what they have in Christ…

I am blessed to live in a part of the world where I can worship God without fear of consequences, yet many of my neighbours don’t even know I’m a Christian. I’m living as if there were an informant in my neighbourhood, when there isn’t! Meanwhile, in places like India, even the fact that there are informants in the neighbourhood doesn’t stop Christians from living in such a way that others can identify them as followers of Christ…

Perhaps those of us who are free to worship God as we choose could learn a few lessons from our brothers and sisters in India! Maybe if we would live in such a way that our neighbours and friends and co-workers could tell we were Christian, maybe we would go a lot farther in spreading the gospel!

Think about it!

In His love,
Rob Chaffart
Director, Answers2Prayer Ministries