Today, I am thrilled to bring you this segment of the Behave Like a Christian series (Rom. 12:9-21), based on verse 10, which is entitled We Are Family, written by another friend, Stephanie Shott.
We Are Family
with brotherly love, in honor giving
preference to one another.” (Rom. 12:10 NKJV)
I remember before I became a Christian that I really didn’t want anything to do with those “church people.” In my mind, they were boring, rule-making, fuddy-duddies and I knew if my lifestyle would ever collide with their world, it would not be a pretty sight.
But when I received Christ into my life, everything changed. I found myself running to those I had so adamantly run from. I realized that I loved them. Every single one of them. In fact, I realized I was one of them and they were my family.
They got me. When I talked about what was going on in my life, they understood. When I wasn’t sure how to live out this new found life, they helped me. When I cried, they cried with me; when I laughed, they laughed too. They loved me, in spite of me.
That’s what family does…we love each other in spite of each other. We share in each other’s joys and pains; we lift each other up; we encourage each other; we help each other out; we put up with each other’s quirky ways; we get each other.
In fact, Romans 12:10 gives us a perfect picture of what our relationship should be like when we’re part of the family of God.
We are to tenderly love each other as a family. We are to prefer each other. The word ‘preference’ in the Greek means to go before and lead the way. We are to lovingly lead the way for each other. To show one another how to put one’s needs before our own.
After all, isn’t that what families do?
Unfortunately, we don’t always look like the loving family God calls us to be. We’ve given the Christian family a black eye because we often look more like the Hatfields and McCoys than the Waltons.
Brothers and sisters, as James 3:10 says, “these things ought not be.”
God calls us to love one another as a demonstration of the relationship we have with each other because of the cross. Throughout the New Testament the Lord says to “love one another.” Scripture says…
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” (John 13:34 NKJV)
“By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35 NKJV)
“This is My commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you.” (John 15:12 NKJV)
Loving our brothers and sisters in Christ is not an option…it’s not a suggestion…it’s a commandment.
Is it always easy? No. But if we’re going to be a family that brings glory to our Father, then we need to love the unlovable…even when they’re part of the family…especially when they’re part of the family.
Here are a few tips to help each of us love one another as Christ loves us:
*Be slow to speak and slower to judge. (Remember, we don’t always know the whole story and a wise person thinks before s/he speaks)
*Always look for the best in one another. (We don’t always know someone else’s motives; we don’t always see everyone’s potential.)
*Give each other room to grow. (We’re all a work in progress and we all make mistakes!)
*Look for opportunities to help each other grow. (That’s part of loving someone.)
*Remember how much Christ loves you in spite of you. (We all fall short, but our Savior is never short on love for us.)
*Forgive quickly. (Grudges have a way of finding fertile soil in an unforgiving heart.)
*Be humble. (God does not see anyone as better than or less than. He sees us all as equal.)
*Admit your own failures. (Are you guilty of gossiping or griping? Have you caused a family feud of your own? Fess up your mess us and start loving like Christ loves.)
*Be kindly affectionate to one another. Honor one another. Put others’ needs before your own.
Why? Because we are family and that’s what families do.