creation itself. However, the fallen nature of the world leaves no room for complacency. “We all sin together and we bear responsibility together,” Dr Windsor says. “Romans 8 speaks about the future of creation being bound up with our future because the futility of creation is bound up with our sin.” Drawing from Hosea, he adds that while we can’t undo the damage of the fall upon this world, repenting from sin has a positive impact. “Christians should inherently be repenting from sin and leading the way, and Christians have repented of the great sin of turning our backs on the Creator. “One thing we keep in mind is God’s sovereignty over creation. It makes us humble, and humility and the fear of the Lord lead to wisdom.” HEALTHY FEAR LEADS TO LOVE Dr Windsor says a healthy fear of the Lord should lead Christians to love God and their neighbour, which will affect how we treat the world and approach environmental issues – “as long as we have a big view of love and we don’t try and limit it. One of the things about climate issues is that [they’re] complex. It doesn’t mean it’s impossible, but it’s complex”. The complexities of loving your neighbour can mean that sometimes a co-ordinated and organised effort is required, especially if campaigning for policy change at a government level. “That’s why it [can] involve politics, and all those things are messy and complex and people disagree about how to do it,” he says. “[For example], we need to think about having to use the massive benefits of technology responsibly. If we discover problems – if we use mining, computers, phones – we need to take responsibility corporately. Since technology has extended to this broad, complex thing we are all happy to use, our responsibility should [be] broad as well. “Should we be committed to doing right by the world? Yes. But are we committed to having a particular view on how that happens? No. We’re not mandated by God to do that.” SHIFT THE FOCUS Loving your neighbour can be simple at an individual level. But when we examine our hearts, greed is often an underlying cause for our actions. “You can do things yourself to put greed to death,” Dr Windsor says. “When did you last buy a phone? That’s a question we could ask – did we need the new phone? It uses a large number of resources. It’s not bad to own a phone, but can we do less and can we not be so greedy? If you can do that, it’s a large witness to others. The power that any company has comes from us as consumers… If we make a change, it might not make a huge difference but it will make a difference.” It is also right to ask our governments to enact safeguards and laws so that companies acting out of self-interest “will have limits placed on what they can and can’t do”. Dr Windsor observes that if we start to say someone should “know” the most environmentally friendly tomato to buy, this is a recipe for disaster. However, “if you say that it’s down to the individual to put greed to death, whether or not we buy the right tomato, we’re going to be less greedy. In the end, we need to keep coming back to Jesus – what he has done and what he will do with our world.” SC 22
Reach your street
he good news of Jesus is for everyone, including those
who live nearby. If we believe that every person was created by God in his image – and is therefore guilty of rejecting God and living in sin – and if we know how they can be saved through Christ, then how can we do anything else other than tell them the gospel? Here are nine ways that we can think, act and pray as we share our faith with our neighbours.
Reaching neighbours can be a long game Let’s think about the people who live around us. Maybe they’re in your apartment building, in your complex, or on your street. There is an urgency in sharing the gospel with people. We don’t know when Jesus will return and judge the world. However, we may have to live among our neighbours for a long time. Acting in haste, while it can have caring intentions, isn’t always the wisest thing to do as it can burn bridges. There are unique opportunities to build connections and get to know your neighbours in the first few months of living beside them, but different opportunities come after three years, or six years, or 10. Always be on the lookout for the new ways you will have to love and share the gospel as time goes on.
Don’t wait for opportunities Sometimes our neighbours will be open with us and it will be easy to share our faith. Other times, we will need to do the hard work of initiating connections and forming relationships with those around us. We may need to be bold and creative in finding ways to reach out and form connections – whether that be by making the most of key events or displaying random acts of kindness like dropping homemade cookies around (or whatever may be COVID safe at the time). SouthernCross