Read Lead Pastor Duane Mabee's weekly Pastor's Ponderings here!
Love One Anotherby Duane Mabee on April 27, 2022
Love one another with brotherly affection, (Rom. 12:10 ESV)
The most important one-another-command is to love each other. Jesus said we show the world that we belong to Him when we follow this command. When we don’t love each other, we show the world we are not His disciples.
The command encompasses more than we think, though. Romans 12-14 flesh out what it means to love each other. The first thing to note is that brotherly affection is observable. Christians sometimes claim to love their brothers and sisters in Christ while at the same time treating them poorly. That doesn’t get it. It is not honest love. Our love for each other is to be genuine love that abhors evil, Rom. 12:9, which prohibits treating others in any unkind or deceptive way.
Chapter 12 goes on to say that we are to outdo one another in showing honor, v. 10. In other words, we are to promote, compliment, congratulate and encourage other believers far more than what we expect them to do for us. We are to bless those who persecute or mistreat us, v. 14. We are to rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep, v. 15. These commands effectively eliminate all forms of competition and one-upmanship. We are to live in harmony with one another, not being haughty and never being wise in our own eyes, v. 16. Loving others requires humbling ourselves and lifting others up. It means refusing to get even, v.17 which means we sometimes have to bear the cost of hurt or mistreatment ourselves.
According to 13:8-10, loving each other is a debt (the only debt) we should owe each other. Loving each other also fulfills the law in very practical ways. If you love someone, you will not commit adultery with or against them. You will not kill or harm them or anyone they love. You will not steal from them or deceive them. You will treat them as well or better than you want to be treated, vv. 9-10.
Chapter 14 points out that if you love each other, you will stop passing judgment on them or tearing them down for doing things or believing things that do not have a direct impact on salvation. They may eat things you don’t believe should be eaten or do things in a way that is different from what you would. Love refuses to tear them down. It seeks to build them up.
Culture is created by what we pursue and what we allow. If North River is going to have a culture of love that demonstrates to the world that we belong to Jesus, we need to actively pursue the things that are loving and refuse to tolerate actions and attitudes that are unloving. We need to learn to lovingly challenge each other when we act in unloving ways.