Life is filled with a variety of relationships. From the moment you are born until the day you die, you are constantly involved in relationships with other people. There are…
- Family relationships – Regardless of our age we have family relationships. We either are parents or have parents or both. Aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, and in-laws; these are all family relationships.
- Professional relationships – Your doctor, dentist, pharmacist, lawyer, accountant, and realtor, mechanic, and delivery man fall into this category. There are certainly more options, but you get the idea!
- Occupational relationships – Your boss, supervisor, co-worker, employer and employee, customers, and clients are in this group.
- Neighborhood relationships – Down and across the hall, in the next building, around the corner, at the supermarket, gas station, auto parts store, department store, all of these are examples of neighborhood relationships.
We all have friends. No man is an island. (No woman either!) We cannot escape from nor totally eliminate relationships. For sure, not all of them are of equal importance, but to some degree, we are all involved in relationships with other people. Life on earth is largely about relationships.
Our relationships with other people either bring us pain or pleasure. They can make us better or they will make us bitter. They can bless us or bother us. The way we relate to other people can make us happy or sad or make us frustrated or excited. The potential of any number of emotions is right there in our relationships.
The most significant part of your life is often controlled by your relationship with those people with whom you are most connected. Think about it: a problem in just one relationship with one person can spoil every part of your life, ruin your mood, consume your mind, and control your emotions. Much of our lives are centered on our relationships, and that never changes, regardless of our age. This is because people were created for relationships – first with God and then with others. Relationships offer us the most intense pleasures in life and, at times, threaten us with the possibility of the most intense pain in life. The worst pain in life is not a broken body part; it is a broken heart. When we are rejected, betrayed, criticized, falsely accused, misunderstood, overlooked, ignored, unloved, underappreciated, distrusted, troubled and hated we feel the deepest hurt possible.
Relationship problems send people to the bookstore for “self-help” books, or to the counselor’s couch, or to the drug store for nerve pills. Relationship problems lead many people to search for relief in the bottom of a bottle, or to contemplate the unthinkable: suicide.
All of us genuinely need help in our relationships. I’ve got some good news! The Bible has the answers. God’s Word on relationships is “one another.” We would revolutionize our relationships if we would obey the “one anothers” of the Bible. There are 31 of them!
|Love one another||Be at peace with one another||Wash one another’s feet|
|Edify one another||Prefer one another||Have the same mind toward one another|
|Judge not one another||Receive one another||Admonish one another|
|Greet one another||Bear one another’s burdens||Serve one another|
|Tarry one for another||Be likeminded one with another||Forbear one another|
|Forgive one another||Be hospitable to one another||Submit to one another|
|Confess to one another||Pray for one another||Care for one another|
|Esteem one another||Don’t lie to one another||Comfort one another|
|Consider one another||Provoke one another||Speak no evil of one another|
|Grudge not one another||Fellowship with one another||Teach one another|
|Restore one another|
Love One Another
And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? And Jesus answering said, A certain [man] went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded [him], and departed, leaving [him] half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked [on him], and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion [on him], And went to [him], and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave [them] to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.
According to Jesus, the greatest commandments are to love God with your whole being, and to love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets. The two relationships Jesus described in the greatest commandment cannot be separated. May people are misled into believing they can be in fellowship with God when they are not getting along with each other. That is a lie; it is impossible to love God if you hate your brother. 1 John 4:20:
If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
The first and most obvious “one another” for us to consider is the statement to “love one another.” Looking at the Scriptures it is clear that we should love one another because of, at least, four reasons.
Because of God’s Commandment
- John 13:34 – “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”
- John 15:12 – “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.”
- 1 John 3:23 – “And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.”
Can love be commanded? Can a young man command a young lady to love him?! No! How then can God command us to love one another? The answer is that Christian love is not an emotional feeling that we “fall” into without trying. It is a matter of the will. One must decide to love others. That means we must decide to treat others as God treats us. God forgives us, so we must forgive others. God is kind to us, so we must be kind to others. Christ receives us, so we must receive others. In spite of personality clashes, different interests, and hurtful actions, you are commanded to love one another.
Because of God’s Law
- Romans 13:8 – “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.”
The Old Testament Jew had many laws and regulations to keep; everything from his land to his food, from his clothing to his worship. What does Paul mean when he writes “he that loveth one another hath fulfilled the law”? Paul is not saying that obeying one commandment takes care of all the other regulations. The moral law still stands. It is still sin to lie or steal or murder.
What Paul is saying is that love fulfills the law, because if I love you I won’t murder you, steal from you, lie to you, commit adultery with you, or covet what is yours. It means that we do not obey God’s moral law from external fear but from internal love; not by compulsion on the outside but by compassion on the inside. Love does not replace morality; it reinforces morality.
Because of God’s Example
- 1 Thessalonians 3:12 – “And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all [men], even as we [do] toward you:”
- 1 Thessalonians 4:9 – “But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.”
The Bible tells us that God is love (1 John 4:8), and He teaches us by His own example to love another. God the Father loved us and gave us His only Son. God the Son loved us and gave Himself for us. God the Spirit lives within us and teaches us to love.
- John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
- Romans 5:8 – “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
- 1 John 4:11-12 – “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.”
- Romans 5:5 – “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”
Too often the world sees Christians and says, “Look how they fight! Look how they criticize and disagree!” What they should be saying is, “Look how they love one another!”
Because of God’s Nature
- 1 John 4:7-8 – “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”
When we are saved, we receive the nature of God. We are “born again.” The old nature does not treat others as God treats them. The old nature is full of revenge and hatred, but the new nature treats others as God would. Peter describes it this way:
- 1 Peter 1:22-23 – “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, [see that ye] love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”
It is an “unfeigned” love. This means it is sincere, genuine, ad not at all phony. It is love with a “pure heart”, meaning there is no mixture of sin. This love is “fervent”, meaning energetic, giving fully to it.
- 1 John 3:11 – “For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.”
- 2 John 5 – “And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.”
From beginning to end, God wants us to love one another. Revolutionizing your relationships begins with love.
1 John 4:7 – “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.”