Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Reflections for May 20, 2009 - "Reciprocal Living"

The central theme of Scripture is God’s love for His creation. The enormity of His love is found in John 3:16 (NASB): “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” Because God’s love is good news for a fallen world, this verse has become one of the best known verses in the Bible.

There is another verse that flows out of this one that we tend to neglect. It is John 15:12 (NASB): “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.” We do not like to talk much about this verse. It would not be so bad if the last part of it was deleted. If we could just love as the world loves, we could live with it, because the world’s love is always conditional. The world’s version gives us the choice of withholding our love if the conditions are not met. Unlike the world, God’s love is unconditional. It can not be bought or earned. It can only be accepted or rejected. Our choice does not diminish His love, but it does determine whether we will reap the full benefits of it.

It is important to notice how emphatic Jesus was with this statement. It was not a suggestion; it was a command. It was not just any command but it was His command. This leaves us with two options, obey or
disobey. We can not withhold our love from those around us and be obedient to Him at the same time.

God recognized the difficulty we would have in fulfilling this command. Therefore, He gave us directions in His word to assist us in loving one another as He has commanded. Some call these directions Reciprocal Commands. The following may not be a complete list, but it is enough to assure us we would be in compliance to God’s command to love one another, if we followed them closely. (Different translations use different wording but the essence of the commands below can be found in the verses indicated.)

Keys to Reciprocal Living
  • “Love one another.”(John 13:34)
  • “Accept one another.”(Romans 15:7)
  • “Have the same care for one another.”(I Corinthians 12: 25b)
  • "Be subject to one another.”(Ephesians: 5: 21)
  • “Bear with one another”(Colossians 3:13a)
  • “Forgive one another.”(Ephesians 4:31, 32)
  • “Build up one another.”(Romans 14:19)
  • “Teach one another.”(Colossians 3:16)
  • “Be kind to one another.” (Ephesians 4:32)
  • “Encourage one another.” (Hebrews 3::13)
  • “Admonish one another.”(Colossians 3:16)
  • “Do not judge one another.”(Romans 14:13)
  • “Do not speak evil of one another.”(James 4:11)
  • “Do not murmur against one another.”(James 5:9)
  • “Do not bite and devour one another.”(Galatians 5:14, 15)

Let me suggest that you make a copy of these keys and place it in a prominent place in your home or place of employment. If your employer does not allow scripture verses to be posted, leave off the reference and post the command. It is hard to see why anyone would object to the people around them living these commands. If your home and workplace abide by these rules it will increase harmony and production. Most of all, you will be fulfilling a part of God’s call on your life.

-- Dennis Lynn

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