From the beginning of time, God stated it was not good for us to be alone. Most of what we experience in our earthly relationships are intended to reflect the connection God wants to have with us himself, and even our closest and most intimate relationships are meant to mirror God’s love for us.
However, relationships are not always easy. They are altered and changed from what God originally designed because we are all flawed and succumb to sin. Because of this, we are destined to be hurt by those we are in relationships with, even those we deeply love and care for. As a result, we give up on each other and walk away in an attempt to protect ourselves from being hurt again. Consider:
- She had a mother who was overbearing and critical.
- He was bullied by other kids at school.
- Her fiancé broke it off just before the wedding.
- His father walked out when he was eleven.
- She had an uncle who touched her in inappropriate ways.
- He found out she was cheating on him.
- Her “best friend” was trashing her behind her back.
You’ve been there, right? You’ve had someone disappoint you, desert you, betray you. I think we’ve all been there. And what happens? We’re tempted to give up. To give up on each other. We feel like we can’t trust each other, can’t count on each other, can’t confide in each other.
The problem is that we were made for each other. We were made to live an “each other” life. To love each other, help each other, encourage each other, serve each other.
That’s why, in the beginning, when Adam was living an isolated life, God said, “It is not good for man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). When Adam and Eve were covering up from each other and hiding from God, God called out, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9). It wasn’t because God didn’t know where they were; God knows everything. His question was really an invitation. He was calling them out of hiding and into a relationship with him and with each other. We were made for an each-other life.
What Does an “Each-Other” Life Look Like?
Maybe you’re wondering what an “each-other” life even looks like?” Hebrews 10:24-25 says,
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
There are many verses in the Bible featuring the words “each other” or “one another.” These verses reveal to us how God wants us to do life with other people. There are over fifty of them found in Scripture. I want to quickly walk through a few of them.
“Spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”
The word “spur” is not a positive word. It could be translated as irritate, annoy, or provoke. Sometimes we need to be irritated, don’t we? It’s so easy to be selfish, so we need to be provoked to love and do good.
“Not giving up meeting together.”
We’re also told not to give up meeting together. Sometimes, we just need to show up. Sometimes we’re frustrated because we want someone to show up for us, but, if we really examine it, we haven’t shown up for others. We need to show up. When you show up when someone truly needs you, you are being Jesus. That’s what Jesus did for us. When we needed him most, Jesus showed up for us.
“Be devoted to each other like a loving family.” Romans 12:10
In a loving family, you have all kinds of people. There is usually someone that’s just, well, weird. But, as a loving family, you love the weird ones too. There is often someone who is carrying a more significant burden, so you help them to carry it. It’s family, and so you’re devoted to each other.
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” James 5:16
An each-other life is one in which you let at least a few people into your joys, struggles, fears, and doubts. You let your guard down, share what’s not right in your life, and ask for prayer.
“Therefore encourage one another.” 1 Thessalonians 4:18
To encourage is to speak courage into. It’s not merely being nice; it’s speaking a word of courage when someone is tired and weary and ready to quit. Who does that for you in your life? And who do you do that for?
“Serve each other.” Galatians 5:13
Do you serve others? Are there people you are close enough to that you know their needs and you are devoted enough to them to meet those needs? Do you allow others to serve you? It can be hard.
Years ago, one of our kids was having some health challenges. During the sermon, I asked for prayer. Later that week, a lady showed up at our house. We didn’t know her very well but she wanted to clean our house for us. Our first reaction was, “No. We’re fine. We’re good. Thank you, but we’re ok.”
Why did we respond that way? Because it can be really humbling to let someone serve you.
Are You Living An “Each-Other Life?
An each-other life is one where we pray for each other, encourage each other, serve each other, and carry each other’s burdens. How are you doing with this? Can you recall any moments from the past week where this happened?
- When you saw someone struggling and encouraged them?
- Or you were struggling and allowed someone to step into your struggle?
- When you discovered somebody was dealing with something difficult and you prayed for them?
- Or you asked someone to pray for you?
- When you realized someone had a need, so you sacrificed to meet it?
- Or you had a need, so you swallowed your pride and asked for help?
- When you gave time to serve someone because they needed help?
- Or you allowed someone to serve you?
How are you doing with this? The best way to answer these questions is to also recall a name. Don’t say, “I think I do this pretty well.” Think of who and when you served well. And if you can’t recall a name, is it possible you’re not fully living an “each-other life”?
You Need People And They Need You
Fred Craddock was one of my favorite preachers. His father was a skeptic of Christianity and especially of the church. He would say, “All the church wants is another name and another dollar.” He would never go to church, even though his son would invite him often.
Later in life, Craddock’s father got cancer and was hospitalized for surgery. He had to have his throat removed. He could no longer speak and wasted away to a mere seventy-four pounds. Even though he had always refused to show up at church, church people started showing up for him. People from Fred’s church started coming to visit with cards, flowers, and food.
The last time Fred Craddock saw his dad, he sat down next to his hospital bed, picked up a stack of cards, and started reading the notes the church people had written to his father aloud.
As he read them, his dad grabbed a piece of paper and wrote words from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, “In this harsh world, draw your breath in pain to tell my story.” He handed it to his son. Fred asked, “What’s your story, Dad?” He took the paper back and wrote, “I was wrong.”
You may think you don’t need this “each other” thing.
You may think just showing up at church once in a while is good enough.
But you need people. And they need you. Don’t give up on each other.
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