Paul and Jesus speak often of brothers, but also of neighbours. Brothers, I presume, are fellow believers. Neighbours may or may not be Christians. Yet, Paul writes to the church at Rome:
“Each of us please to his neighbour in good [into good], to edification.”
So we are to please our neighbours — whether or not they are believers — and we are to please them “into good, to edification.” We are called “to instruct and improve especially in moral and religious knowledge;” to “uplift, enlighten, and inform.” Edification implies speaking to our neighbours, but I speak little to most of my neighbours. How about you?
I know the family to my left very well. The house behind me — I see them once in a blue moon in their yard. The people on my right, I wave to and speak with on occasion. The couple across from me — now and then. One house on my street stands completely empty – a sign of the economic times. I just met the man at the very end of my street, and I’ve lived here more than fifteen years! My neighbours are essentially strangers with the exception of the three men next door: an elderly man and his two grown sons. I eat with them often!
But, do I edify them?