Today, we humans are rapidly losing our ability to lovingly and constructively relate with one another, and it is damaging us more deeply than we realize. We should change this.
The New Testament gives us more than fifty “one another” commands, and if we actually practiced them, the entire ethos of our national, political, and cultural conversations would improve. Here are some of these “one another” commands:
- Love one another. (John 13:34)
- Accept one another. (Romans 15:7)
- Honor one another above yourselves. (Romans 12:10)
- Be devoted to one another. (Romans 12:10)
- Build one another up. (Romans 14:19)
- Live in harmony with one another. (Romans 12:16)
- Admonish one another. (Colossians 3:16)
- Serve one another. (Galatians 5:13)
- Bear one another’s burdens. (Galatians 6:2)
- Forgive one another. (Ephesians 4:2)
- Submit to one another. (Ephesians 5:21; 1 Peter 5:5)
- Consider others better than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)
- Be kind and compassionate to one another. (Ephesians 4:2)
- Be patient with one another. (Ephesians 4:2; Colossians 3:13)
- Encourage one another. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
If we approached all people this way—both the people we passionately agree with and the people we vehemently disagree with—we could have healthier debate, more creative problem solving, and more expansive solidarity for the needs of the world around us.
I don’t have to be your best friend or ally to treat you with love and respect. Jesus took these “one another” commands so seriously that He actually told His followers to love their enemies, bless the people who curse them, do good to those who hate them, and pray for the ones who would persecute them (Matthew 5:44). Those are big commands. They are big enough to change the world.
So, let’s do better. Let’s refuse to sink into either the vitriol or the malaise of our times. Let’s rise. And let’s increasingly model a better way of living with one another.