There are many types of people all around us that we interact with everyday. Friends, family, co-workers, roommates, husband/wife, children, neighbors, etc. How are we to interact with them? As Christians, what is the God-glorifying way to talk to them, spend time with them, etc.?
I know people might not like being put in categories, but for the sake of organization, here are some categories:
1. Genuine Believers
Really, there are only two categories of people: those who know and love Christ, and those who don’t. And while the former category is black and white, the second category has many varieties in terms of the type of interaction one will have with them. So let’s break down the second group a little more:
5. Guests at church
6. Random strangers
Today let’s focus on the first main category: genuine believers.
I start with this special group of people because it is the most important. Of course, of first importance is your relationship with the Lord. But how you interact with believers is also very crucial to our Christian lives. Galatians 6:10 tells us, “So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.” The emphasis is to do good in particular to fellow believers. Of course we are to do good to all people, but our focus, our priority, is to those who serve the same Lord and Savior. What is the good we are to do towards one another? Here is a brief (by no means exhaustive) list of a search of “one another” commands found in just the New Testament:
1. Romans 12:10 – be devoted to one another
2. Romans 12:10 – give preference to one another
3. Romans 12:16 – be of the same mind toward one another
4. Romans 13:8 – Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another
5. Romans 14:19 – So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of oneanother.
6. Romans 15:7 – Therefore, accept oneanother, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.
7. 1 Corinthians 12:25 – have the same care for oneanother.
8. Galatians 5:13 – through love serve oneanother
9. Galatians 5:26 – Let us not become boastful, challenging oneanother, envying oneanother
10. Galatians 6:2 – Bear oneanother‘s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.
11. Ephesians 4:2 – with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for oneanother in love
12. Ephesians 4:32 – Be kind to oneanother, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
13. Ephesians 5:19 – speaking to oneanother in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord
14. Philippians 2:3 – Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard oneanother as more important than yourselves;
15. Colossians 3:9 – Do not lie to oneanother
16. Colossians 3:13 – bearing with oneanother, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.
17. Colossians 3:16 – Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing oneanother with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
18. 1 Thessalonians 3:12 – and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for oneanother, and for all people, just as we also do for you
19. 1 Thessalonians 4:9 – Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love oneanother
20. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 – Therefore encourage oneanother and build up oneanother, just as you also are doing.
21. 1 Thessalonians 5:13 – Live in peace with oneanother
22. 1 Thessalonians 5:15 – See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for oneanother and for all people.
23. Hebrews 3:13 – But encourage oneanother day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
24. Hebrews 10:24 – and let us consider how to stimulate oneanother to love and good deeds
25. Hebrews 10:25 – not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging oneanother; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.
26. James 5:9 – Do not complain, brethren, against oneanother, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door.
27. James 5:16 – Therefore, confess your sins to oneanother, and pray for oneanother so that you may be healed The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
28. 1 Peter 1:22 – Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love oneanother from the heart
29. 1 Peter 4:8 – Above all, keep fervent in your love for oneanother, because love covers a multitude of sins.
30. 1 Peter 4:9 – Be hospitable to oneanother without complaint.
31. 1 Peter 4:10 – As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving oneanother as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
32. 1 Peter 5:5 – You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward oneanother, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.
33. 1 John 3:23 – This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love oneanother, just as He commanded us.
34. 1 John 4:11 – Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love oneanother.
For sure there are many many more. This is just an overview of some biblical commands on how we are to love one another. And since love is the foundational component, let us look at 1 Corinthians 13, the chapter on biblical love, to see how this looks.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8
1. Love is patient
2. Love is kind
3. Love is not jealous (in the negative, I want what doesn’t belong to me kind of sense)
4. Love does not brag
5. Love is not arrogant
6. Love does not act unbecomingly
7. Love does not seek its own
8. Love is not provoked
9. Love does not take into account a wrong suffered
10. Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness
11. Love rejoices with the truth
12. Love bears all things
13. Love believes all things
14. Love hopes all things
15. Love endures all things
16. Love never fails
Wow. What a high calling biblical love is. Who can perfectly live this way? None of us! Except one. Our perfect Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. You replace “Love” with “Jesus Christ” and it works perfectly. Jesus is the fulfillment of biblical love. And what does Jesus say about that? When asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus replied in Matthew 22:37-40
And He said to him, “YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’
“This is the great and foremost commandment.
“The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’
“On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”
So Jesus is essentially saying that He is the fulfillment of all the Law and the Prophets.
Even though we can’t live this high standard out perfectly, we are still commanded to strive for such obedience. In pursuit of that, let us encourage each other as believers, as brothers and sisters in Christ, to love in such a divine way.