|Posted on September 30, 2020 at 1:55 PM|
Even a superficial reading of the New Testament reveals how important our relationships are to God. In every book or letter there is a major passage describing the way God wants us to relate to each other. The letters of the apostle Paul, comprising much of the New Testament, are filled with “ one another” statements concerning the way we should or should not interact with others around us. Clearly, God is not just concerned with our relationship to him. In fact, the way we relate to others is a mirror image of the way we relate to him.
The new commandment Jesus left us with is to love others the way he loves us. All these one another passages describe how we go about loving others like Jesus in our everyday lives. Assuming we have a relationship with God described by John as “ being born of God and knowing God”, we can actually live out these one another passages in our relationships at home, on the job, or in the community. As we continue to receive God’s love we can give it to others. In fact, this process is described in the scriptures as an “overflowing cup” of God’s love.
The ministry of love each of us has been called to by God is revealed by the various one another passages in the Bible. We are called to receive one another (Romans 15: 7); be kind to one another (Romans 12: 10); in honor to prefer one another )Romans 12: 10); be fair with one another (Romans 12: 16); forbear one another (Ephesians 4: 2); forgive one another ((Ephesians 4: 32); be subject to one another (1 Peter 5: 5); not judge one another (Romans 14: 12); pray for one another (Ephesians 6: 18). In addition we are called to warn the unruly (Galatians 6: 1-5); comfort the feebleminded (2 Corinthians 1: 3-6); and support the weak (Romans 14: 1).
In addition to this description of the ways we love Paul also describes the kind of love we receive from God and give to others in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, “Love suffers long, and is kind; love envies not; love vaunts not itself, is not puffed up, does not behave itself unseemly, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil; rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things”. This kind of love can only come from God. It is given to all who will receive it to share with others under the personal leadership and direction of the indwelling Spirit of God.
Because our relationships with others are so important to God’s plan to reveal his love to the world he not only grants us his love but also expresses that love through us. Giving to each of us the Spirit of his Son, Jesus, God is at work through his Spirit in each of us to direct our daily lives regarding his commandment to love others. This does not mean that we are simply robots he uses to display his love for the world, but that he grants us the liberty and privilege to display his love to others. Trusting in the Father’s love for us empowers us to love others in the ways described by the one another passages. And loving others in the way Jesus loves increases our own capacity to receive the love of God. We have been set free from a life of criticism and condemnation to live a life of love and edification. “Bear ye one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6: 2)