Appendix VII: ONE ANOTHER
And one of them, a lawyer, asked Him [Jesus] a question, testing Him, “Teacher, which is the great commandment of the Law?” And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment.
“The second is like it, ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:35-40).
This passage is repeated in Luke 10:25-28 and Mark 12:28-3. When Jesus identified the great commandment, He said in essence that it had two parts—we are to love God and each other as well.
To that generation, “all the Law and Prophets” meant all Scripture. Jesus said all Scripture depends on, rests on, and comes down to this two-pronged instruction. God gave the scriptural record of His dealings with man to teach us how to properly love God and love one another.
The gospel of Luke says the lawyer responded to Jesus’ comment with, “Who is my neighbor?” as though the lawyer wanted to justify his discriminatory love.
In response, Jesus told him about the Good Samaritan. The Jews of that day hated the Samaritans, considering them to be no better than dogs. Jesus used what was considered the most despised person to illustrate His point. In essence, Jesus said, “Quit qualifying who is your neighbor. Just go and be a good neighbor to those within your reach.”
This love thy neighbor feature of the Great Commandment is repeated in Scripture many times, with many variations. Take a few minutes to read them:
If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well (James 2:8).
Through love, serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Galatians 5:13b-14).
Owe nothing…except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law (Romans 13:8).
For this, “you shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law (Romans 13:9-10).
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven…For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:43-48).
Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor… Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God; just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of the many, so that they may be saved. Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ (1 Corinthians 10:24, 32-11:1).
Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification (Romans 15:1-3a).
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:34-35).
This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this; that one lay down his life for his friends (John 15:12-13).
This I command you, that you love one another (John 15:17).
And this is His commandment, that we…love one another, just as He commanded us (1 John 3:23).
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God…for God is love…Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us (1 John 4:7-8, 11-12).
Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; for indeed you do practice it toward all the brethren (1 Thessalonians 4:9-12).
For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another (1 John 3:11).
Now I ask you, lady, not as though I were writing to you a new commandment, but the one which we have had from the beginning, that we love one another (2 John 1:5).
Fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again (1 Peter 1:22).
Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaint. As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God (1 Peter 4:8-10).
Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing…Live in peace with one another. We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone…always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people (1 Thessalonians 5:11,13b-15).
But encourage one another day after day, so that none of you will be hardened (Hebrews 3:13).
Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another (Hebrews 10:24).
Let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way…So then we pursue the things, which make for peace and the building up of one another (Romans 14:1).
You yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another (Romans 15:14).
Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God (Colossians 3:14-16).
Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things…and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ (Ephesians 5:19-21).
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor (Romans 12:10).
Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:1-2).
Put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other…just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you (Colossians 3:12-13).
Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed (James 5:16).
Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak the truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another…Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear…Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you (Ephesians 4:25, 29-32).
May we learn to walk in each of the Ways of God so we can experience the abundant life that Jesus promised!
7. Way of Interaction Matures Us
(All Scripture quotes are from the NASB version)
One day a teacher asked her students to list the names of the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name. Then she told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of their classmates and write it down.
It took the remainder of the class period to finish their assignment. As the students left the room, each one handed in their paper.
That Saturday, the teacher wrote down the name of each student on a separate sheet of paper and listed what everyone else had said about that individual. On Monday she gave each student his or her list. Before long, the entire class was smiling.
“Really?” she heard whispered. “I never knew that I meant anything to anyone!” and, “I didn’t know others liked me so much.” These were typical of the comments.
No one ever mentioned those papers in class again. She never knew if they discussed them after class or with their parents. It didn’t matter, the exercise had accomplished its purpose. The students remained happy with themselves and one another. That group moved on.
Several years later, one of the students was killed in Vietnam and his teacher attended the funeral of that special student. She had never seen a serviceman in a military coffin before. He looked so handsome, mature.
The church was packed with his friends. One by one those who loved him took a last walk by the coffin. The teacher was the last one to pass the coffin. As she stood there, one of the soldiers who acted as a pallbearer came up to her.
“Were you Mark’s math teacher?” he asked.
She nodded, “Yes.”
Then he said, “Mark talked about you a lot.”
After the funeral, most of Mark’s former classmates went together to a luncheon. Mark’s mother and father were there, obviously waiting to speak with his teacher.
“We want to show you something,” his father said, taking a wallet out of his pocket. “They found this on Mark when he was killed. We thought you might recognize it.”
Opening the billfold, he carefully removed two worn pieces of notebook paper that had obviously been taped, folded, and refolded many times. The teacher knew without looking that the pieces of paper were the ones on which she had listed all the good things each of Mark’s classmates had said about him.
“Thank you so much for doing that,” Mark’s mother said. “As you can see, Mark treasured it.”
All of Mark’s former classmates started to gather around. Charlie smiled rather sheepishly and said, “I still have my list. It’s in the top drawer of my desk at home.” His wife said, “Charlie asked me to put his in our wedding album.”
“I have mine too,” Marilyn said. “It’s in my diary.” Then Vicki, another classmate, reached into her purse and showed her frazzled list to the group. “I carry this with me all the time,” and without batting an eyelash, she continued: “I think we all saved our lists.”
It is important to tell people they are special and are valued. Our supportive interaction with one another has many enduring effects.
The Apostle Paul’s writings continually instruct us to encourage, strengthen, and build one another up.
- Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
Interaction is the give and take activity we experience when we relate with others. Our interaction involves relational contact and sharing communication. While interaction is not a biblical word, it is a scriptural concept and a necessary activity in achieving any balance.
Interaction is a primary catalyst in all our relationships with God and with each other.
The first two chapters of Genesis provide references to God’s relational intention for mankind—for each of us.
- God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them (Genesis 1:27).
- Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him” (Genesis 2:18).
- The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17).
See the clues? Being alone and separated is not good. God created him to be them. He gave them license to partake of the many trees, and they were to leave the one alone. We are relational beings that are intended for interaction.
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