Love One Another Would Be Easier if the Others Were Nicer!
The poet W. H. Auden said, “We are here on earth to do good to others. What the others are here for, I do not know.”
I’ve always found that quote to be funny! There are always “others.”
A couple weeks ago I walked the dog while all the snow was melting. While skirting the edge of a giant puddle, a truck came by. He hit that puddle at about 30mph and completely drenched my dog and myself. He couldn’t slow down? He couldn’t move over? There’s no way he didn’t know what he was doing.
Someone was supposed to come over at 4:00. I was ready and waiting for them. I was still ready and waiting at 4:30. No phone call. No explanation. They showed up at 4:46. If I’m doing the math correctly, that’s 46 minutes after they said they’d be here.
While writing this article, my son is choosing this very time to be unbelievably loud and annoying. He wasn’t loud or annoying before I started to write, only now that I have begun writing. It’s like every time I sit down to be productive someone will interrupt me.
The Others are always there. I don’t know what they are doing while there, but it’s usually something annoying.
Here’s the thing though, for Others, you are the Other! Think about that one for a second! “Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.” is what Jesus Christ told us. You will be the Other, so act as if the Other is you! OK, Jesus said this better than I am, but hopefully you get the point.
The Bible is filled with commands about how we should treat one another. Here’s a sampling just from the book of Romans:
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor
Romans 12:10 Be of the same mind toward one another
Romans 12:16 Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another;
Romans 13:8 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore
Romans 14:13 So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.
Romans 14:19 Be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus,
Romans 15:5 Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.
Romans 15:7 God loved the world so much that He gave His only begotten Son to die for the Others. The love that Christ showed the Others, even the Others who crucified Him (“Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”), is the same love we ought to show them.
If Christ can lay down His life for sinners, people who were His enemies, certainly we who benefit from this love can do the same thing.
It’s not easy. When the water is dripping off of you and your clothes are soaked, it’s not easy to think nice thoughts about the guy who splashed you. It’s not easy to love when a person wastes your time or interrupts your work. It’s so easy to forget. It’s so easy to slip into fleshly reaction instead of patient love.
The struggle is real! The Others are very real! They aren’t going away. But the Gospel gives us not only a good example, but it brings us into a relationship with God where His Spirit indwells us and fills us with His power. Our mind is renewed and retaught how to love rather than to get revenge.
Love is a great thing to receive. Believers have received the love of Jesus Christ; we know how great this love is. With that love comes a desire to share it with those around us, aka, The Others.
No, as Auden said, I don’t know what the Others are here for, but I do know we’re supposed to love them as we’ve been loved by our Lord Jesus Christ. And if this article doesn’t make sense, blame it on my son who is yelling and banging around upstairs doing who knows what. I’m gonna go show him some love now.
Pray for a greater understanding of God’s love for you.
Pray for opportunities to show God’s love to others.
Pray for the moments that pop out of nowhere when our flesh is stirred up to respond in frustration, anger, and hate that we would be reminded and settled with God’s peace.