I remember as teenager and young adult feeling very awkward or embarrassed about the phrase, “I love you.” In my mind, “I love you,” was three of the deepest, most significant words a person could say to another, and thus ought to be reserved only for a significant other or family member. Maybe a really close friend. But as we saw in the previous post, “love one another,” is how the church should relate to one another. And it is much, much more than just saying, “I love you.” How should Christians express their love for one another?
Thankfully, the remaining “One Anothers” are basically all reflections on how to express that one another kind of love.
I’m going to suggest some categories of the “One Anothers,” as you’ll see below, but many of the “One Anothers” overlap or could fit in multiple categories. These verses are powerful enough on their own that I’m mostly just going to list them, asking you to prayerfully consider how you might need to apply them to your life. Again, not all of these have the precise words “one another.” Sometimes they talk about “each other” or “among yourselves” but the concept is the same.
First of all, we Christians love one another by practicing Peace & Unity
Mark 9:50 “Be at peace with each other.”
Romans 12:16 “Live in harmony with one another.”
Romans 14:13 “Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.”
Romans 14:19 “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” The New American Standard Bible properly translates that final phrase as, “build up one another.”
Romans 15:5 “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus.”
1 Corinthians 1:10 “I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.”
And then there is a really unique practice of loving one another in the early church, and it gets mentioned four times in the NT! “Greet one another with a holy kiss” as said by Paul in Romans 16:16, 1 Corinthians 16:20, 2 Corinthians 13:12. Peter gets in on the action in 1 Peter 5:14, “Greet one another with a kiss of love.” While this might sound strange to some, this ancient Christian kissing is similar to many cultures which practice a greeting kiss on the cheek.
Next, Christians practice loving one another through Selflessness and Service
Jesus himself led the way with this in John 13:14 “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.”
Then we have five verses from Paul.
Romans 12:10b “Honor one another above yourselves.”
1 Corinthians 11:33 is part of the passage that I read almost every month during worship before our church observes communion. The Christians in Corinth were being quite selfish about the meal, and Paul wrote, “So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for each other.”
Galatians 5:13 “Serve one another in love.”
Galatians 6:2 “Carry each other’s burdens”
Philippians 2:3 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”
When we put ourselves and each other in proper perspective, loving one another means Acceptance & Fellowship.
Romans 15:7 “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”
1 Peter 4:9 “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.”
1 John 1:7 “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”
Check back in to the next post, as we look at a few more categories of how we can love one another. For today, did any of these verses hit home for you? Did you sense God’s Spirit encouraging you to dwell on any of the verses? Maybe go back and read through them another time or two, slowly, prayerfully, asking God’s Spirit to direct you how to better love one another in your church family.