I know that our decisions should be made according to the will of God, but how can I be sure if I’m doing the right thing? Sometimes I feel uncertain, and it seems like I’m going crazy. I live surrounded by neighbors who hate me because I don’t allow them to control me. I follow Jesus Christ, so I don’t want others to get too close to me; but I’m afraid of having problems with them and being a bad example.

Dear Friend,

We congratulate you for wanting to follow the will of God and for wanting to be a good example! Those are both excellent goals.

Following the will of God is not as confusing as you might think. It can be compared to going up stairs. You must go up the first steps before you can get to the middle steps, and up the middle before getting to the top steps.

The first step is to read the Bible in order to learn about the character of God and His will for everyone. The Bible is like an instruction manual or tutorial. Along with reading (or listening to) the Bible comes the next step, which is talking to God in your own words. This talking can be called prayer, but it is actually just a conversation. Tell Him how you feel, what you are confused about, and that you are interested in knowing His will. Ask Him to show you what He wants for your life.

As you read the Bible, beginning with the Gospels, which are the story of the life of Jesus Christ, notice how Christ treated others. He made friends with tax collectors, who were some of the bad guys of that time period. He welcomed everyone to come to Him, including adulterers, schemers, and liars. He didn’t make people clean up their lives before they could be His friends. On the contrary, He encouraged them to get close to Him. He cared because He loved.

It is disturbing that your neighbors hate you. Do they perceive you as having a “super-spiritual” “holier-than-thou” attitude toward them? When you say that you don’t let them control you, do you mean that they are pressuring you to do things that you should not do as a follower of Christ? Could it be that by not letting them get too close, you are giving them reason to think that you don’t care about anyone’s needs and problems except for your own?

As you read the story of Christ, notice the areas in which God reveals His will for all of us. He wants us all to love our neighbors as ourselves.(1) Unfortunately that is much easier said than done.

When you study God’s character and get to know Him better, you will be approaching the middle steps. He will then begin to show you His will for your life as an individual. And it will become easier to hear Him speaking to you. As you pray and ask Him to put love in your heart for others, He will help you become what He has planned for you to be.

We wish you the best,

1 Lev 19:18; Mt 22:39