A few weeks ago I mentioned that I was going to be blogging on a series outlining ways in which, we as Christians, can love others well. Tim Keller, in his Gospel Christianity series, tells us that the implications of this principle are spelled out practically in dozens of “one another” passages in the New Testament. We will begin with his thoughts on affirming one another.
Affirming one another’s strengths, abilities, and gifts
“This is a general mindset that loves to praise, appreciate, and make supportive statements. It is to catch people being good and then to affirm them in it. More specifically, it is a deliberate practice of identifying in our friends:
a) where they are growing and making progress
b) what talents and gifts they have that benefit others
c) which sacrifices they are making to do the right things
Romans 12:10 says to honor one another. Romans 12:3-8 says to confirm the gifts of one another. We are to appreciate one another’s (often very different) gifts and abilities, not despise those who are different! When fruit, gifts and sacrifices are confirmed and affirmed in community, it greatly multiplies their growth.”
Affirming one another’s equal importance in Christ
“This is a general mindset that refuses to be impressed with the world’s status ladders or pecking orders. In the world, some classes, races, vocations, and cultures have more power than others. But the Bible calls us in numerable places to refuse to let those distinctions in the church control us within the church.
Romans 15:7 says to accept (welcome, appreciate, include) one another as Christ accepted you.
This is a remarkable verse that will repay sustained reflection. Think of how Christ accepted us. His acceptance is quite different than the modern notion of tolerance. Christ does not ignore our faults at all. He insists, in love, that we change them all. His directives to us, however, are put in the larger context of his absolute and unconditional commitment to us.”
Affirming one another through visible affection
“This is a general mindset that communicates love and affection in a visible way.
1 Thessalonians 3:12 says to abound exceedingly in love to one another. Romans 16:16 says to greet one another with a holy kiss (culturally appropriate, visible affection).
We’re called here to communicate love and affection warmly. We must not be cold, abrupt, indifferent, and harsh with one another. We must be willing to actually talk about our love for each other.”
In my next post, we’ll take a look at ways to love others through sharing with one another.