Scripture has a lot to say about how we should treat each other. In fact, the New Testament contains nearly forty verses of relational instructions, all containing the telling phrase “one another.” These “one another” commands in Scripture tell us how we are or are not to treat each other! Scripture is serious about relationships and how they are to play out.
Let’s peruse a few of these “one another” verses (I’ve included all of them at the end of the chapter). The first one is spoken by Jesus himself.
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another. — John 13:34-35, emphasis added here and following
Jesus is the model for love. His love is sacrificial. Consistent. Unconditional. Without strings attached. We accurately model for others the love of Christ toward us when we seek to love them in the same way.
The people in our life can catch a glimpse of God when they see us seeking to mirror His love.
On to another verse:
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. — Romans 12:10
So often we forget that relationships aren’t easy. They require loyalty and steadfast devotion. Sometimes marriages dissolve because feelings fade. We give up on friendships when they get hard. We decide that our children have so severely disappointed us as adults that we let our relationships with them dwindle as well. But the commands to us in this portion of Romans are clear:
Don’t hang up on your relationships; hang in there instead.
This verse also tells us to honor others above ourselves. What does this look like? It isn’t just taking the smallest piece of coconut cream pie left in the pan, leaving the bigger ones for others. It isn’t just holding a door for someone or letting a waiting car in at a crowded intersection. Honoring others means thinking of their desires, wishes, and welfare at those times you want to put yourself first. It is trusting God as you let go of what you feel is your right to be right. It is speaking kindly and respectfully. Showing deference at times and lifting others up always.
As we honor others, we reflect Jesus.
As Paul reminded us:
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage; rather, He made Himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross! — Philippians 2:5-8
If Jesus Himself put others first, then — even though at times it is oh-so-challenging — we can strive to do so as well!
Finally, a little further in Romans we read this:
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. — Romans 12:15-16
Weeping. Rejoicing. Associating. Living humbly in harmony with others. Jesus modeled these behaviors for us. He knew His call included both joy and sorrow. He knew He didn’t come to Earth to hang around the popular and pretty people but to reach the outcast. To include the marginalized. To notice those who least expect to be noticed. This was right in God’s eyes. And it still is right for us today.
Loving others includes not just giving of our time but feeling with our hearts as well.
We must be willing not only to associate ourselves with others, but also to feel their pain and share their joy. We must mingle our tears with theirs, raise our laughter in harmonious chorus with theirs, and thereby mimic Christ and reflect His love.
If our perspective each day can be “I am in it for you” instead of “What is in it for me?” we will discover the joy of serving Jesus — without expecting anything in return and done only for an audience of One. We may show this kind of love to family or friends. Or we might demonstrate it in a random encounter with a stranger. Either way, the stage is set for us to showcase God’s love to a watching world.
Excerpted with permission from Listen Love Repeat by Karen Ehman, copyright Karen Ehman.
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Who are you “one another”-ing today? Who are you loving like Jesus today? Today, let’s keep our eyes open for those who need the love of Jesus and show it to them! Come share your thoughts with us on our blog. We’d love to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily
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