Every time I place a knife in the sink with the intention of washing it later, I STILL hear my mum’s warning shrill! Her explanation made sense and it is so drilled into me that I instantaneously take the knife back and wash it then and there… What if it got to the bottom of a pile of dirty cooking vessels and we forgot? With softened hands in the water it would be pretty easy to get a deep cut, putting not just ourselves at risk but also anyone else who decides to clean the sink or even their hands.
Our decisions and actions more often than not, do impact – beneficially or harmfully – others around us. Yes, we can’t steer the course of our life to please people as that would be an endless and un- achievable target. So as believers we focus on seeking God’s will and to stay on that narrow path.
All the while however God also tells us to love our neighbour as ourselves. There are so many ‘one another’ suggestions in the Scriptures. In fact Jesus clearly states that we will be known as His disciples by our love for one another (John 13:35). He sets the standard in the previous verse – that our love should be how He loved you and me! Yup, it’s not our ministries or our work for Him let alone our preaching, teaching, healing, prophecies etc but it’s our love for one another that counts. If our ministries are at a cost of loving one another then we need to truly ask the Holy Spirit to help us reshuffle our priorities and how we use our resources as it’s a great indication that we aren’t then walking along the narrow path of God.
Loving one another isn’t necessarily pleasing but rather looking out for one another. In our every action are we, to quote merely a few of the ‘one another’ commands, at least aiming or desiring to do the following?
Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves – Romans 12:10
Are we just honouring our family members above ourselves or are we treating everyone the same way?
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited – Romans 12:16
What does the word ‘associate’ mean – saying hi and bye and keeping them at arms distance or actually interacting with them as we would with others? Are we able to honour the people of low position above ourselves? Is it by accident that this verse is placed just a few verses after verse 10?
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God – Romans 15:7
In order to bring praise to God, we are to accept one another!! If that is what brings praise to God, what do our actions of pushing away, expelling, rejecting, labelling, falsely judging etc bring to God then?
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law – Romans 13:8
Loving others is what fulfils the law – not our imposing commandments on one another and making them feel condemned and adding to their burdens instead of helping them!
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you – Colossians 3:13
Forgiveness doesn’t mean being a doormat and allowing the offender to repetitively harm abuse betray you, that’s actually being a vessel to allow them to FEED into the sin. Just as we endeavour to remove alcohol bottles from the alcoholic, we endeavour to separate the perpetrators in their particular areas of sin and shortcomings. Forgiveness on the other hand means to release all anger towards the person who has wronged you and come to the point of praying blessings and healing and restoration for them. There is a time where we can strive to help them from afar but there is a time to give up too. Not forgiving others is actually detrimental to our own health and growth in God too. Bitterness often leads ways to diseases including cancer.
Loving one another isn’t fake – where we say ‘Hi, how are you?’ showing all teeth but inside grinding in anger or with hypocrisy scheming to push that person away or trample them. We may fool one another but we just can’t fool God and will have to face Him for our every thoughts and motives on judgment day.
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing – 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Are you in fact doing that?
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 – 1 John 1:7
To be purified from all sin, we need to have fellowship with one another!
Fellowship isn’t what we think of it as – meeting at church services and programs. The Greek word means:
partnership, that is, (literally) participation, or (social) intercourse, or (pecuniary) benefaction: – (to) communicate (-ation), communion, (contri-), distribution, fellowship.
Fellowship is about SHARING life. Partnership signifies equality! Remember the early church – that’s FELLOWSHIP! If we are unable to share life, and have a million and one reasons to keep a number of people out of our lives and homes with prejudices and assumptions, we need to ask God if we truly are walking in the light.
Do spend some time in His presence and allow the Holy Spirit to search so that any areas of hindrance of loving one another will be brought to light.
Being right with God is way more important than being famous in man’s sight!
Where do you place your knife and how do you use it? Do you place it in places that protects or endangers? Are you using the knife to murder (physically, emotionally or spiritually) or are you using the knife to serve (what is helpful and to build them up)?