Love One Another
I heard a sermon recently and have been considering some of the things mentioned in that sermon. The more I reflect upon it, the more clearly I understand what the preacher was trying to get across. So the focus of this article will be to look at just one aspect of our responsibility to love one another.
A word or phrase search will reveal that in the NKJV the phrase "one another" is found in 81 verses of the New Testament. The phrase "love one another" is found thirteen times in twelve verses. There are several more "one another" passages that include the word love and some of these suggest the condition we are to be in when doing something for one another. An example would be: "Be kindly affectionate to one another in brotherly love, in honor give preference to one another in love" (Romans 12:10).
We can see that many times the phrase "one another" is in reference to our fellow members of the church. In Romans 12:5, we read: "so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another" (NASV). The one another phrase is not only in regards to our fellow members, it is also in regards to the church in the local sense. That is not to say that members of the church of other locations are not relevant to this discussion; they are. But our focus is upon the members of the local church of which we are a member.
This is where we make the best impact in our community. We have neighbors who might know that we go to church on a regular basis, but until they see something in you that keeps you rejoicing in your hope and love that your brethren give you, they may not be interested. When people pay attention to you, and do kind things for you, it makes you feel good. This is the feeling many people are yearning for, and you can show that to your neighbors, and perhaps they will become interested in becoming a member of the church where they can receive the same treatment.
When Jesus was instructing His disciples in building and maintaining a good relationship, it was to be based on love. One can take many words that are characteristics of love and apply them to these passages. Just a few words for your consideration are: care; honor; provide; encourage; help; trust; and the list can go on and on. Our point is that if we are members of one another, should we not show that to the world?
One thing that many in this world lack is a loving relationship. We sometimes see on the news where a person did not show love in their relationship. Abuse, hatred, despising, jealousy, and many other things contribute to horrible conditions for millions upon millions. Most of us would prefer that such not be revealed to us. But sadly it is taking place all around us, yet we prefer to keep our head in the sand and not face this problem.
Our love for one another is sometimes driven by reciprocal reasons. Because someone else loves us, so we love them. What God wants is for us to love others even though they do not show us love. We see this in the Sermon on the Mount when Jesus told us to love our enemies no matter what they do to you. Sure, this sounds good and all, but do we practice it? Why should we if those others are not going to respond in kind. Well, that is the wrong attitude for us to have.
Please take the time to read through your Bible and see just how many times our phrase is used, and try to put these things into practice in our church relationships. When we do, we make it possible for outsiders to see the love, devotion, care and concern that the church has for its own members. Such things are sorely lacking in many lives and these things are needed by everyone, whether they realize it or not.
By Carey Scott
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