Can you live out your faith convictions in the messiness of everyday life? Difficult relationships can leave us lost, wondering how God might be calling us to respond. The Bible uses the phrase “one another” often, and it says a lot about caring for each other and living in community. Relationships benefit when we follow God’s teachings for how we should treat the “one anothers” that God has placed within our lives.
Romans 12:10 says “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Are we striving to be fully devoted to the family that God has placed us within? Do we honor our spouse and children and place their needs ahead of our own? How can you practice obedience to this scripture and put the needs of others first?
Galatians 5:13-14 says to “serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: Love your neighbor as yourself.” Does your family serve each other and lovingly care for the needs of each other? How is your family involved in service to those in your community?
Ephesians 4:32 says, "Be compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." How are you doing with being compassionate and forgiving? Is there someone who needs your compassion and forgiveness? Maybe someone towards whom you'd rather be angry? Have you ever asked your spouse, children, or extended family to forgive you?
Colossians 3:16 states, “Let the word of Christ dwell you in richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom.” We should not be shy about sharing God’s love and correction with the “one anothers” in our life. Does someone need your teaching or correction? When we correct we need to be certain that we are speaking the truth in love--speaking harsh truth is not love unless it is done with empathy.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." Is there someone to whom we can offer a word of encouragement? Does your spouse know how much you value them? How about your children? Think about the words of encouragement that have been inspirational to you. How can you be a source of encouragement in your family?
Hebrews 10:25, "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Worship together is one of the ways that we connect spiritually with our family. Shared spiritual practice can invite deeper intimacy and strengthen your marriage. Encourage each other in your spiritual growth, so as you grow closer to God you will grow closer to each other.
James 5:16 states “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” Do you have sins that need confessing? Have you apologized to your spouse for your shortcomings? How are you praying for one another? Prayer is powerful for softening our hearts to each other.
1 John 4: 11 reads, “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” In response to God’s tremendous love for us, we are called to demonstrate this love to one another. Jesus himself said four times in the gospel of John alone: Love one another as I have loved you (John 13:14; 13:34; 15:12; 15:17). Jesus was a model of sacrificial love and he has called us to follow his example.
There are more things that we could say about how the Bible calls us to live in community, but this is already a lot to chew on. Does this list feel overwhelming? Remember that we don't face these challenges alone. God's Spirit within us empowers us to live out God's loving calling for our lives. How would our families look different if we committed to living out these guidelines every day? Choose to let God's love overflow into your relationships with one another.
Rev. Dr. Steven Koster
Rev. Dr. Steven Koster