Helping One Another

Bob RoaneCounseling, Service, Wise living

Command Christians not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. (1 Timothy 6:17-19)

The Marathon

Sara Barnes writes for “My Modern Met” and said that training for a marathon is one of the most physically demanding activities you can do. The race itself is 26.2 miles and most runners train for 16-20 weeks before. When race day finally comes, runners want to finish strong and complete the race in under 3 hours. But sometimes, things go wrong.

In the 2023 London Marathon, one man began to crash toward the end of the race. He doubled over and was on the verge of collapsing as other runners whizzed by. But before he fell to the ground, another runner came from behind and grabbed his arm. He was able to hold the failing runner steady enough to keep going. Soon, another runner came to the collapsing man’s other side. Together, all three runners made it to the finish line.

I don’t know if the men knew each other prior to the race. For the two helpers, getting the fastest time was not their main goal. Marathoners have a comradeship, a fellowship that binds them together. And helping fellow runners in need is part of that kinship. Sara Barnes writes, “Though the three guys didn’t finish first, they won that day.”1

This story reminds me of the need for community and mutual encouragement among Jesus’ family of followers. We are all weak and wounded in some ways and all need the support of other believers to run beside us during the long journey of life, to help us home to Christ.

One Anothering

The phrase “one another” occurs about 100 times in the New Testament (“NT”). Nearly 60 of these are specific commands from Christ telling us how to help and not to hurt one another. It doesn’t take long to bulldoze a building, but it may take years to rebuild something on that sire. Like, it’s easier to criticize and tear down people than to build them up. So let’s aim to be constructive in dealing with others, not destructive.

Here is a list of some of those “one another”commands that I will expand upon later. I number them for ease of discussion in class and counseling. They provide some details on how healthy Christian fellowship is supposed to function. The Lord Jesus said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Positive Commands (how to help others)

1. Love one another (John 13:34, repeated at least 16 times in the NT)

2. Be devoted to one another (Romans 12:10)

3. Honor one another above yourselves (Romans 12:10)

4. Live in harmony with one another (Romans 12:16)

5. Build up one another (Romans 14:19; 1 Thessalonians 5:11)

6. Be like-minded towards one another (Romans 15:5)

7. Accept one another (Romans 15:7)

8. Admonish one another (Romans 15:14; Colossians 3:16)

9. Greet one another (Romans 16:16)

10. Care for one another (1 Corinthians 12:25)

11. Serve one another (Galatians 5:13)

12. Bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2)

13. Forgive one another (Ephesians 4:2,32; Colossians 3:13)

14. Be patient with one another (Ephesians 4:2; Colossians 3:13)

15. Speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15,25)

16. Be kind and compassionate to one another (Ephesians 4:32)

17. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (Ephesians 5:19)

18. Submit to one another (Ephesians 5:21; 1 Peter 5:5)

19. Consider others better than yourselves (Philippians 2:3)

20. Look to the interests of one another (Philippians 2:4)

21. Bear with one another (Colossians 3:13)

22. Teach one another (Colossians 3:16)

23. Comfort one another (1 Thessalonians 4:18)

24. Encourage one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

25. Exhort one another (Hebrews 3:13)

25. Spur one another on toward love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24)

26. Show hospitality to one another (1 Peter 4:9)

27. Use whatever gift you have received to serve others (1 Peter 4:10)

28. Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”(1 Peter 5:5)

29. Pray for one another (James 5:16)

30. Confess your sins to each other (James 5:16)

Negative Commands (how not to hurt others)

31. Stop passing judgment on one another (Romans 14:13)

32. Do not put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister (Romans 14:13)

33. Stop biting, devouring, and destroying each other (Galatians 5:15)

34. Don’t become conceited, provoking and envying each other (Galatians 5:26)

35. Do not lie to one another (Colossians 3:9)

36. Do not slander one another (James 4:11)

37. Do not grumble against each other (James 5:9)

We Are Family

Marathoners are a family of sorts, bound together by a common interest and experience. Christians have more. Scripture says that we are “members of one another.”2 All Jesus’ followers have God as our Heavenly Father, Christ as our Elder Brother and Bridegroom, and God the Holy Spirit as our Advocate, Comforter, Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, and Strengthener. Before Jesus ascended to heaven, He promised to never leave us. He meant that God the Holy Spirit would be our Paraclete down here on earth. He comes alongside to be with us forever and to bring us to the finish line. It’s our privilege to be part of the Spirit’s work, people with skin on, to help other Christians endure to the end.

Jesus’ Church is not an organization you join. It is a family where you belong, a home where you are loved, and a hospital where you find healing. When we place our faith in Christ, God becomes our Father, we become His children, and other believers become our brothers and sisters. God’s true spiritual family includes all of Christ’s followers in the past, the present, and the future. (Rick Warren)

Notes: 1 Sara Barnes, “Struggling London Marathon Runner Gets Help From Fellow Athletes To Finish the Race,” My Modern Met (5-11-23).     2 Romans 12:5; Ephesians 4:25.