The Bible not only tells us to continue in brotherly love, it gives us instructions on how to do that. I’ve heard them called the “one anothers”:
- Be at peace with one another (Mark 9:50)
- Outdo one another in showing honor (Romans 12:10)
- Serve one another (Galatians 5:13)
- Forgive one another (Ephesians 4:32)
- Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:21)
- Accept one another, just as Christ accepted you (Romans 5:17)
- Instruct one another (Romans 15:14)
- Bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2)
- Encourage one another (1 Thessalonians 4:9)
- Admonish one another (Colossians 3:16)
- Be patient with one another (Ephesians 4:2)
- Be kind and compassionate with one another (Ephesians 4:32)
- Pray for one another (James 5:16)
- Confess your sins to one another (James 5:16)
Then there are some “do nots.”
- Don’t pass judgement on one another (Romans 14:13)
- Do not lie to one another (Colossians 3:9)
- Do not slander one another (James 4:11)
- Do not grumble against one another (James 5:9)
How do you do with this list? If you’re like me, you fall down quite a bit. I have to admit patience and not grumbling are areas I really need to work on; serving and submitting deserve extra attention as well. What about confessing sins to one another — I would really rather not go there!
It boils down to this: brotherly love requires humility and sacrifice. It involves imitating the one who loved us like a brother — Jesus. He did all these things and did them perfectly. He’s the one who teaches us to love.
“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” Romans 12:18
Michele’s last post highlighted how difficult it is to maintain peace, especially during these turbulent times. People are angry and unwilling to see any virtue in those with whom they disagree.
My devotional reading a few days ago was taken from Psalm 34:
“Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.”
Easier said than done, right? People make us mad. The folks we deal with every day in our workplace, family, even church can be irritating, insensitive, rude and more. They have political views we don’t understand. They don’t do things the way we want them done. They don’t seem to care how their actions and words affect us. How do we deal with this?
Well, the only person I can really control is me. If I want to get along with others, I have to make decisions that allow me to do this. I have to pursue peace. My devotional, and some other readings from Romans and James have a few good suggestions I’d like to share.
- Try to understand, through prayer, the motivation of others. I have often found, after praying for someone there are things in their life that cause them to behave the way they do. It may not make their behavior right, but it does help me accept it without anger.
- Outdo one another in showing honor.(Romans 12:10) Sometimes one person’s calm, respectful manner will create a change in the environment.
- Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. (Romans 12:17) Seeking revenge causes a bad situation to escalate.
- Love one another with a brotherly affection (Romans 12:10). When we love someone we are willing to make allowances for them.
- Think before you speak (James 1:26)
- (Most important) Always give others the benefit of the doubt. How many relationships would be saved if we followed this simple rule?
I wish I could say I always follow my own advice. Unfortunately like Michele and everyone else, sin is my default position. I have my own particular buttons that when pushed result in a stubborn, angry, unforgiving response. However, God doesn’t give me what I deserve. He gives me grace; that’s what I should extend to others.
“Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!” 2 Corinthians 9:15