5 Characteristics of a Godly Neighbor

And 38 Verses to Help You Become One
5 Characteristics of a Godly Neighbor  Hero Image 5 Characteristics of a Godly Neighbor  Hero Image

Want to be a good neighbor?

As Christians, we should be the best neighbors—the kind of people who everyone would want to have next door. Of course, we are also still imperfect people who don’t always live up to the standards we are called to. We need to be reminded what God’s Word says about being a neighbor and encouraged to put those things into practice.

So, here is what the Bible says about how we are to treat our neighbors:

1. Love Your Neighbor.

Specifically, “love your neighbor as yourself” (Galatians 5:14), which, if we’re honest with ourselves, is a pretty high standard. This one command really covers everything, because if you love your neighbor then you will do everything else on this list in the process.

Other verses:

  • “And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.’” (Matthew 22:37-40)
  • “For the commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,’ and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” (Romans 13:9-10)
  • “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.” (James 2:8-9)

2. Serve Your Neighbor.

Part of loving your neighbors is to serve them and meet their needs. We are to show our love not “in word or talk but in deed and in truth,” which includes sharing our worldly goods with people when we see them in need (1 John 3:17-18). We should be generous with the time and treasure that God entrusts us with.

Other verses:

  • “If a man borrows anything of his neighbor, and it is injured or dies, the owner not being with it, he shall make full restitution.” (Exodus 22:14)
  • “Do not say to your neighbor, ‘Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it’—when you have it with you.” (Proverbs 3:28)
  • “Whoever despises his neighbor is a sinner, but blessed is he who is generous to the poor.” (Proverbs 14:21)
  • “Do not forsake your friend and your father's friend, and do not go to your brother’s house in the day of your calamity. Better is a neighbor who is near than a brother who is far away.” (Proverbs 27:10)

3. Welcome Your Neighbor.

If you are going to love and serve your neighbor, it helps to get to know them. A godly neighbor should show hospitality (1 Peter 4:9). We should welcome people into our homes and our lives (Romans 15:7). And we should be welcoming to everyone, regardless of their appearance (James 2:1-4), where they are from (Acts 10:34-35), or whether they are able to help us in return (Luke 6:34-35).

Other verses:

  • “Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” (Matthew 25:37-40)
  • “Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.” (Romans 12:13)
  • “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” (Hebrews 13:2)

4. Seek the Good of Your Neighbor.

We should build up our neighbors (Romans 15:2), not tear them down. That means, among other things, that we should not be jealous of them (Exodus 20:17) or compete to “keep up with the Joneses” as in Ecclesiastes 4:4. We should not hate them, seek revenge, or bear a grudge against them (Leviticus 19:17-18), and we should be fair in all our dealings with them (Leviticus 25:14; Deuteronomy 19:14).

Other verses:

  • “Whoever slanders his neighbor secretly I will destroy. Whoever has a haughty look and an arrogant heart I will not endure.” (Psalm 101:5)
  • “Do not plan evil against your neighbor, who dwells trustingly beside you.” (Proverbs 3:29)
  • “But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” (Jeremiah 29:7)
  • “Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.” (1 Corinthians 10:24)

5. Speak the Truth to Your Neighbor.

Another way of loving your neighbor is to speak the truth to them in love (Ephesians 4:15). Lies are never loving, even if that’s what you think they want to hear, and silence is not loving if there is something true that you should share (Proverbs 27:5-6). That includes sharing the gospel with your neighbors and proclaiming the truth of God’s love to them. You should also go directly to them with the truth, and not gossip about them with your other neighbors (Leviticus 19:16).

Other verses:

  • “Whoever slanders his neighbor secretly I will destroy. Whoever has a haughty look and an arrogant heart I will not endure.” (Psalm 101:5)
  • “One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.” (Proverbs 12:26)
  • “Be not a witness against your neighbor without cause, and do not deceive with your lips.” (Proverbs 24:28)
  • “A man who flatters his neighbor spreads a net for his feet.” (Proverbs 29:5)
  • “Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.” (Ephesians 4:25)

Remember that you can be a godly neighbor to anyone, whether they live two doors down or you meet them on the side of the road (Luke 10:29-37). All people are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27) and are worthy of our time and effort.

So, go forth and be a neighbor. Do it not to earn God’s love, but rather to share the love that God has shown us (1 John 4:19-21).