There are 100 uses of the of the word “one another” (one word in Greek) in the New Testament and about half of those uses are commands towards followers of Jesus. Here at the church building, in the foyer we have a list of them on the bulletin board where we display our purpose as a community of believers as well as a summary of our core values as believers in carrying out that purpose. I humbly admit that the list is probably hard to read, but a few of the “one anothers” include, Live in harmony with one another (Romans 12:16), Bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2), and one that we’re all walking in disobedience on, Greet one another with a holy kiss (2 Corinthians 13:12; don’t worry I believe having holy affection towards one another is the main point).
While there are many “one another” commandments that direct how we glorify God in our relationships as His people, there are three “one anothers” in the New Testament that stand out from the others. This doesn’t mean we can ignore the others, but has spoken of these three in a unique way. Their uniqueness comes from the fact that the “one another” command is followed by a comparison that shows us the picture of how we are to carry it out:
- This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. (John 15:12)
- Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. (Romans 15:7)
- Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)
It’s no secret that carrying out the one another’s of the bible can be challenging and at times discouraging. We fight the desires of the flesh that want to have our way instead of being patient with others, there are certain personalities in the people of God that just seem to rub us the wrong way. But the solution is not found in avoidance, divisiveness or gossip because we’re commanded to put those things to death (Colossians 3:5).
The solution isn’t even trying to love appreciate others in our own efforts. The solution is loving, welcoming, and forgiving one another as Christ has done for you. It’s in deepening our understanding of Jesus Christ and love for all that he has done for us even though we were His enemies, dead in our sin and disobedience:
For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.
May we grow in the knowledge of the surpassing love, welcome and forgiveness of Christ that we might display His glory as we love, welcome and forgive one another.