It Depends on Us

“Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:10)
“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love” (Romans 12:10)
“Have equal concern for each other” (1 Corinthians 12:25).
“In humility consider others better than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3).
“Bear with each other” (Colossians 3:13).
“Forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another” (Colossians 3:13).
“Teach one another” (Colossians 3:16).
“Admonish one another” (Colossians 3:16).
“Spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24).
“Encourage one another” (Hebrews10:25).
“Do not slander one another” (James 4:11).
“Don’t grumble against each other” (James 5:9).
“Confess your sins to each other” (James 5:16).
“Pray for each other” (James 5:16).
“Love one another” (John 13:34).
“Love one another” (John 13:35).
“Love each other” (John 15:12).
“Love each other” (John 15:17).
“Love one another” (Romans 13:8)
“Love one another” (1 John 3:11).
“Love one another” (1 John 3:23).
“Love one another” (1 John 4:7).
“Love one another” (1 John 4:11).
“Love one another” (1 John 4:12).
“Love one another” (2 John 1:5).

These past few weeks I’ve often wondered what a local Church would look like if it took these commands to heart. What’s crazy is this is only about half of the ‘one another’ commands.

I’ve been asking myself:

What would happen with the joys and sufferings each member shared? What would happen to hard conversations and misunderstandings? What would happen to the expectations often held over another?

I bet the Church’s collective witness would be different as they held differences in tension as a “fellowship of differents.”1 I bet they would do the hard work of choosing to seek what is true, good, and beautiful in a society that denies truth, negotiates goodness, and deals recklessly with beauty.

“Make every effort”, Pastor Peter said, “to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.”

Life in God’s beloved community formed by the Spirit of Jesus the King takes effort. After all, grace may be opposed to earning but it is not opposed to effort. It takes cooperation with the Spirit of God working in, between and among God’s people.

Maybe I am sincerely mistaken, but the Spirit seems to assure a life-giving outcome if we take the “one another” texts, like the ones above, as commands rather than suggestions.

Pastor Peter goes on to say,

“For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 The person who lacks these things is blind and shortsighted and has forgotten the cleansing from his past sins. 10 Therefore, brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election, because if you do these things you will never stumble. 11 For in this way, entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly provided for you.” (2 Peter 1:5-11)

What would it look like if a local Church took these commands to heart?

It depends on us.

1 I owe Scot McKnight for this terminology.

About Fred

Fred came to serve greater Williamsburg and WCC as lead pastor in October of 2010 and is grateful to be a part of the family. He is a husband, father, certified trauma professional, S.T.A.R. (strategies for trauma awareness & resilience) practitioner, community organizer, TEDx alum, founder of 3e Restoration, Inc. and co-owner of Philoxenia Culture LLC. He received his B.S. in Ministry/Bible at Amridge University and his Master’s of Religious Education in Missional Leadership from Rochester University. Currently he is a candidate for a Doctorate of Ministry in Contextual Theology in at Northern Seminary in Chicago. Fred has also served as an adjunct professor for Rochester University and Regent University where taught courses in philosophy, ethics, leadership, pastoral care, intro to Christianity, and ethnography. He has also served as a guest lecturer on the subjects of racialized cultural systems, poverty, and missiology at various universities, such as William & Mary and Oklahoma Christian University. Fred has authored on book (Racialized Cultural Systems, Social Displacement and Christian Hospitality) and several curriculum offerings, including The FloorPlan: Living Toward Restoration & Resilience. Fred enjoys hanging out with his family anytime, anywhere. He is deeply grateful for how God graciously works through the Church in all her various forms, despite our brokenness. He is passionate about seeing the last, least, and lonely of every neighborhood, city and nation experience God’s in-breaking kingdom, and come to know Jesus as King. Oh, and his favorite season is Advent and Christmas. Fred is a founding member of the board of directors for Virginia Racial Healing Institute, a member of the leadership team for Williamsburg's local chapter of Coming to the Table, and a member of Greater Williamsburg Trauma-Informed Community Network's Racial Trauma Committee and Training Committee.
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