A few years ago, while visiting a friend, I came across a book entitled One-anothering. What a great title! What a great idea!
I looked up the term “one another” in my Nave’s Topical Bible, and I was shocked. I found over 30 actions that the New Testament says we are to do to, for, or with one another.
• assemble with one another,
• bear burdens for one another,
• confess faults to one another,
• exhort one another,
• be kind to one another,
• forgive one another,
• do good to one another,
• etc., etc.
There were also over 10 “don’t’s” that I found just in that one reference book.
• don’t deceive one another,
• don’t do evil to one another,
• don’t judge one another,
• don’t speak evil of one another,
ONE-ANOTHERING DO NOT’S
I’d like to take a look at a couple of the negatives. I’ll just choose two verses because I’d like to stay positive and uplifting.
Verse #1 – Galatians 5:15 says, “But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.”
If we think about roses, what do we have to be careful to avoid? That’s right – the thorns! In this first verse, Paul is warning us that even Christians may have some mighty sharp thorns at times. We may have all seen a Christian say or do something that could really hurt a fellow Christian. Maybe we’ve even been guilty of this, or maybe we’ve been unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end! So the apostle instructs us in a roundabout way to not bite and devour one another. This is sometimes done through careless words. I guess our mothers were right when they told us to “count to three” before you speak!
Verse #2 -Galatians 5:26 says, “Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”
Paul warns us in this verse not to provoke one another. Now provoke can go two ways. One definition for provoke is “to stir to action or feeling” in a good way (e.g. we are instructed to provoke one another unto love and good works – Hebrews 10:24).
But there is another definition for provoke. It could also mean:
1. to cause to feel anger
2. to trouble the peace of mind of
Let’s notice two ways that we could provoke one another in a bad way.
1. We could cause anger in someone by ruffling their feathers on purpose. A long time ago, I knew a woman who told everyone that a certain lasagna dish was HER specialty and that no one else better bring it to potlucks! I wish I could say that I wasn’t tempted to do so – and more than once. But wouldn’t that have been purposely provoking my sister in Christ?
2. We could trouble someone’s peace of mind by wearing immodest clothing. Did you know that there are Biblical standards for the way we dress? I’ve read many articles on this subject, and I feel so sorry for our men and boys. When a woman reveals any bit of cleavage, or her midriff, or the upper part of her legs it is very hard for our men to keep their thoughts and eyes focused on what is pure. And it doesn’t matter what her age is or what her body type is. These areas of our bodies are only for our husbands to see. We never want to be the reason one of our brothers in Christ stumbles or sins. Please help our husbands and sons to think wholesome thoughts by dressing modestly.
We must consider one another in our everyday actions. It is a crucial part of our Christian lives. Let us resolve not to be stumbling blocks to one another, but to be encouragers and those who build up. Next week, we’ll discuss some of the positive things we can do for with one another.
By Jennifer Jensen
Jennifer and her husband, Ron, live in the foothills of the California Sierra Nevadas and attend the Angels Camp church of Christ. Ron serves as the “back up” preacher, a teacher, and the regular song leader. Jennifer teaches kids of all ages, as well as Ladies’ Bible classes. She is a keeper at home and home schools their two daughters.