I am currently reading a profound book concerning relationships and how they effectively function in our lives to bring God’s glory to earth. The book is, Authentic Relationships: Discover the lost are of “one anothering,” by Wayne and Clay Jacobsen.
It is laid out as a 13 week study guide for use as an individual or group. I have been thoroughly enjoying the read.
In the preface, the authors offer 22 “one another” statements made in the New Testament. There are, in fact, many such statements, but there are 22 unique ones of which several are repeated or stated similarly in other places. These statements are:
- Loving one another (John 13:34)
- Forgiving one another (Ephesians 4:32)
- Accepting one another (Romans 15:7
- Bearing with one another (Ephesians 4:2)
- Being devoted to one another (Romans 12:10
- Honoring one another (Romans 12:10)
- Greeting one another (2 Corinthians 13:12)
- Being hospitable to one another (1 Peter 4:9)
- Being kind and compassionate to one another (Ephesians 4:32)
- Sharing with one another (Hebrews 13:16)
- Carrying one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2)
- Serving one another (Galatians 5:13)
- Building up one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
- Encouraging one another daily (Hebrews 3:13)
- Comforting one another (1 Thessalonians 4:18)
- Stimulating one another to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24)
- Instructing one another (Romans 15:14)
- Admonishing one another (Colossians 3:16)
- Praying for one another (James 5:16)
- Confessing your sins to one another (James 5:16)
- Being of the same mind toward one another (Romans 12:16)
- Submitting to one another (Ephesians 5:21)
These thoughts cause me to reflect deeply on my previous church experiences. These are experiences that for the most part were pleasant and important to my development. However, I find them lacking many of the one anothering aspects described in Scripture. This does not mean that these didn’t happen, they just weren’t always at the forefront. The primary concern, it seems to me, was to make sure I was properly and thoroughly indoctrinated in certain facts. Thus, my early ministry was marked by much the same characteristic. This may offer insight as to why so many people leave churches today with disgust and discouragement. My genereation is not nessarily concerned with facts and figures, but are rather driven by the question: Does it work?
In case you are wondering…one anothering from a biblical perspective DOES work. It brings into reality the heart and vibrancy of Jesus Christ. The attributes listed above flow from the life of Christ throughout the Gospel narrative. These are real, relevant, action-oriented, life-changing, productive life principles. You may get your “facts” wrong. You may search for THE right doctrine to HOLD and DEFEND. You may argue your side of the fence all day everyday. But I tell you, you CANNOT go wrong living out the one anothering attributes of our Savior!
I hope this serves to add to a productive conversation.