Good Conduct Bears Fruit

ON A small island off the coast of southern Japan, a mother and her three young children began to study the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses. Seeing this, the neighbors in that isolated and very conservative area began to ignore the mother whenever they saw her. “What hurt more than their ignoring me was that they gave my husband and children the cold shoulder,” she relates. Nevertheless, she told her children: “We must continue to greet our neighbors for Jehovah’s sake.”​—Matthew 5:47, 48.

At home, she taught her children to be polite despite rejection. On the way to their regular visits to the local hot springs, the children practiced their greetings in the car. Upon entering the building, the children always called out cheerily, “Konnichiwa!”​—“Good day!” The family patiently continued to greet all whom they met, even though the neighbors’ response remained chilly. Still, people could not help but notice the children’s good manners.

Finally, one neighbor and then another responded with “Konnichiwa.” At the end of two years, almost everyone in town was returning the family’s greetings. They had also begun greeting one another and had become friendlier. The deputy mayor wanted to honor the children for their role in this change. But their mother assured him that they were only doing what Christians should do. Later, in an island-wide speech contest, one son related how his mother had trained the family to greet others politely regardless of the reaction. His talk won first prize and was printed in the town newspaper. Today, the family is very happy that following Christian principles produced such good results. Sharing the good news with others is much easier when people are friendly.