The one anothers, such as the ones above - and others - are things that Christians are called to do. But, based on the fact that one anothers, by definition, involve more than one person, how can we live these out right now with the current situation we are in?
Currently, there may be challenges or hurdles to living out the one anothers in all the ways we would like to. But, this doesn’t mean that the instructions in Scripture to love and care for and encourage each other are any less important to do. And, it doesn’t mean they can’t be done… except maybe the “greet each other with a holy kiss” one, which I am okay with not doing right now. :)
In all seriousness, some are just as doable now as always. For others - and the connection to do them well - there may need to be a bit more intentionality and creativity to respect the guidelines and respect the comfort level of others. But actually, there may also be, in a manner of speaking, that much more of an importance to living them out in the midst of the challenges we have right now. For instance, with higher stress and frustration we are facing, we may need to be that much more forgiving of each other. And with greater feelings of isolation, many may feel a greater need to feel loved by others.
Here are just two-ish one anothers to highlight right now:
1. Forgive each other. Colossians 3:12-13 says “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” (ESV) The higher level of difficulty and stress we are under - while not an excuse - can lead to us hurting each other more easily by what we say. Remember the ways that Jesus has forgiven you, if you have trusted Him as your Lord and Savior, and with His help, extend that same forgiveness to others.
2. Meet together and spur each other on to love and good deeds. Hebrews 10:24-25 says “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (ESV) So, for meeting, what about the whole social distancing thing? It is still important to meet… And, while I think it will ultimately be best when everyone feels comfortable to meet freely without restrictions, there are other ways we can meet and encourage each other in the meantime, even with restrictions. And, it is still important to do so. So, think about who might be good to meet with in-person or by video - individually or in a small group - to do this with. Perhaps you could do a study of the “one anothers” with an individual or small group, or do another Bible study, and encourage and pray for each other. And, be sure to be involved in coming together through things such as worship service, Sunday school, and youth group - whether virtually or in-person - to worship and grow and be encouraged and encourage each other.
There certainly are challenges right now; but think and pray about how we can continue to be built up and build each other up by doing the one anothers together - and pray for God’s help to do it.
Christian Waltmire, Youth Pastor
*For the high schoolers who have been doing the “One Anothers” study but did not finish the booklet together as a group, perhaps you could find a friend to finish the books together with. Others might simply spend a few weeks together studying different passages that say “each other” or “one another” in Scripture and discuss, encourage, and pray for each other about living these out.