Are we loving each other? Meeting each other’s needs? How are we modeling Christ?
Are we letting fear, frustration, and/or our need for individuality and some measure of control over our own lives get in the way of loving each other?
Instructions from the Holy Bible
God’s Word contains instructions on how we are to treat each other. In Matthew 7:12, Christ Jesus tells us, “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” In other words, if we want people to treat us kindly, then we are to treat them kindly.If we want people to treat us kindly, then we are to treat them kindly. - Lisa Harp Hinds Click To Tweet
Furthermore, in Matthew 22:37-39, we see that Jesus teaches a lesson on how to treat your neighbor and who your neighbor is, which appears to be more than merely the people who live in your neighborhood: “Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”
In addition, the Apostle Paul reminds us how we are to treat our neighbors. “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (Galatians 5:14). Thus, you can see that God’s Word instructs us to treat others with respect and kindness. We are also instructed to live in unity with our Christian brothers and sisters.
The Unity of God’s People
We can find a definition of the unity of God’s people in the Dictionary of Bible Themes (see link here: 7032 UNITY, OF GOD’S PEOPLE). The definition discusses the “common relationship with God” that God’s people hold, and that we should commit to each other, and maintain “mutual concern… and harmony within the believing community.”
What does it mean to have unity? Why is unity to be sought? The psalmist David sings of “… how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1). When we have unity within the body of Christ, then joy and peace exist. The Spirit in any one of us recognizes the Spirit within others.
John proclaims how the body of Christ is united:
that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me (John 17:21-23).
When we are unified in our purpose, in our mission, and in our love for God, we find it easier to love one another. “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him” (I John 5:1).
Unity and Diversity in One Body
We may be a diverse body of believers, but God’s Word instructs us to have unity, regardless of each person’s function within the body (Romans 12:4-5). We are members of one another! Therefore, should we not treat our brothers and sisters as if they are part of ourselves?
Yes, of course, we should, as I Corinthians 12:12-14 explains:
For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many.
Are we to actively love each other? Yes, as made clear in Hebrews 10:24-25: “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” So, we are to actively “stir up love and good works” within each other! Not fear! Not frustration! Not discord!
(This is not a commentary on the nature of assembling ourselves together. During this time of COVID-19, we have a tremendous amount of complications that have caused us not to be able to assemble inside closed doors; however, we must find ways of exhorting and loving one another. This could be through online technology or old-fashioned mail).
Sons and Heirs
My beloved, we are not accidentally connected to each other! We are intended by God to be deeply and fully connected to each other! We are children of God through our faith in Jesus Christ, as described in Galatians 3:26-28: “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Let’s each edify the body (see Ephesians 4:16).
Has COVID-19 changed how you treat others? Have pandemic restrictions caused you so much stress that you have forgotten to reach out to your family and friends? Have your family and friends magically stopped needing attention from those who love them?
Regardless of circumstances, we are commanded to love each other as members of the Body of Christ. This “love” is an action verb. We are meant to “do,” to “act,” not simply to “feel” sweet feelings toward each other.
Let’s Share Each Other’s Sufferings
We all know members of our Body who have suffered this year. How can we help them? Share each other’s sufferings! This will provide comfort. “And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation” (2 Corinthians 1:7). Notice how the Apostle Peter describes our unity. “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing” (1 Peter 3:8-9).
We are to be so united that we share our lives with each other. “So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us” (1 Thessalonians 2:8).
Be dear to one another! Treat each other exceptionally well. Actively love each other. Remember that your church family are members of the body of Christ, just as you are.Be dear to one another! Treat each other exceptionally well. Actively love each other. - Lisa Harp Hinds Click To Tweet
All Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version of the Bible.
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- Have questions about how you fit into Christian leadership? Check out these resources:
- 7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Leave Your Church - January 15, 2021
- 5 Reasons I Came Back to the Church - January 13, 2021
- 5 Reasons I Left the Church - January 12, 2021