We Need Each Other

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I’m told I am not responsible for anyone but myself.  I know this is a popular thought, but is it true?  Is it biblical?

The love we are to show one another, and the reconciliation we are to extend, goes beyond just saying “hey” at church, doesn’t it?  How responsible are we for each other?  If any part of the body is hurting, what are we to do?  These are my questions, my struggles, as I try to understand my role in life. . . .

God has placed each of the members in the body just as He decided . . . The eye cannot say to the hand, “I do not need you,” nor in turn can the head say to the foot, “I do not need you.” . . . Instead, God has blended together the body, giving greater honor to the lesser member, so that there may be no division in the body, but the members may have mutual concern for one another. If one member suffers, everyone suffers with it. . . .  ~1 Corinthians 12:18-25

My brothers and sisters, do not show prejudice if you possess faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ. For if someone comes into your assembly wearing a gold ring and fine clothing, and a poor person enters in filthy clothes, do you pay attention to the one who is finely dressed and say, “You sit here in a good place,” and to the poor person, “You stand over there,” or “Sit on the floor”? If so, have you not made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil motives?…But if you fulfill the royal law as expressed in this scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well.  But if you show prejudice, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as violators.

For the one who obeys the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it. For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a violator of the law. Speak and act as those who will be judged by a law that gives freedom. For judgment is merciless for the one who has shown no mercy. But mercy triumphs over judgment. ~James 2:1-4, 9-13

“You have heard that it was said to an older generation, ‘Do not murder ‘ and ‘whoever murders will be subjected to judgment.’ But I say to you that anyone who is angry with a brother will be subjected to judgment. And whoever insults a brother will be brought before the council, and whoever says ‘Fool’ will be sent to fiery hell.

 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.” But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to desire her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor’ and ‘hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be like your Father in heaven,  since He causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Even the tax collectors do the same, don’t they? And if you only greet your brothers, what more do you do? Even the Gentiles do the same, don’t they? So then, be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.  ~Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28, 43-48

Instead of being motivated by selfish ambition or vanity, each of you should, in humility, be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself. ~Philippians 2:3 (Thanks, Bad!)

What a high standard! 

Do we truly live up to this standard?

We will be judged by a law that gives freedom and yet we hold so much against one another.  

Do we forgive, understanding the mercy we’ve been shown?

We really do need each other and have been called to live in unity.

Wow…

…at times the conviction is too much to handle.

I’m so thankful for Our Gracious God.

Any thoughts?

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26 responses »

  1. You could add to your scriptures this little item from Paul’s letter to the Philippians:

    “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”

    Kind of sums up what you are saying, don’t you think?

  2. Yes, Tim. I had to, cause I’ve broken every one. He’s very merciful, that’s why I love Him so. 😉

    Amen, Bad. That’s the verse that kept coming to my mind as I was thinking these through. Not sure why I didn’t add it…hmmm? I’ll fix that now. 🙂

  3. Great Post Sis – and at the risk of offending you – a little correction is suggested….

    Your last comment to Tim looks like you have broken all of us – not the Ten, so would ‘every one’ be closer to your intent in #3?

    I have read every verse in the last month or so.

    i would hope that all those in Him would encourage one another to abstain from committing error and assist in mutual understandings.

    Here is another scripture that has a strong impression on me:

    “1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
    2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
    3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
    4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
    5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. ” 2 Tim 4:2)

    or

    “12 Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.
    13 Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance;
    14 Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath showed me. ” 2 Pet 1:12-14

    or

    “16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
    17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.
    18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.
    19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;
    20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins. ” (Jas 5:16-20)

    <B

  4. Michelle, I really believe that God intended for the His church to be very close to each other, to care for each and bear each other’s burdens and teach each other and encourage each. I think that was the original plan. I’m always a little amazed still when I read of the type of relationships between people in the Bible, the hospitality and sharing etc.

    These days I think we fear too much (sometimes with good reason) and trust each other too little (also often with good reason) and so we keep our little walls well in place and keep ourselves well protected and fairly isolated but because of this we have also lost true community.

  5. Thanks for the ‘correction,’ Love. I looked and looked at that (everyone) and for the life of me could not see what was wrong! I knew something was up, just couldn’t see it. Thanks.

    Now, the verses…PERFECT! The James passage especially speaks to me. To be able to truly share our faults and not be harshly judged, but to gain the understanding and help we may need, well, I’ve only found that type of help through paying for it – a good Christian counselor. It’s a sad statement of where we are in the church today.

    Hey, Rain! You speak my thoughts so much of the time. I have had the same feeling of amazement when trying to reconcile the scripture with the reality in the church today. We are all about keeping ourselves ‘well protected and fairly isolated.’ Yes, the reasons are probably legitimate. And yet, in our reasoning, I wonder if we haven’t reasoned ourselves completely away from the command to love one another.

    Owe no one anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law…Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. ~Romans 13:8-12

  6. I’m wondering if this applies to unbelievers or someone we are not sure about? How do we help someone when we are struggling with a trust issue and should we be concerned with being taken advantage of or just help and not worry about that? Well, we shouldn’t worry about anything but I need lots more help with that! 🙂 I have a new friend in the neighborhood who is going through major things but I just don’t know her well enough to know how much help I should extend without hurting my family.

  7. This is ineteresting. I am in a situation where I have had to separate myself from an inidividual so that God can work some things out in the both of us. Don’t worry, not Skipper 🙂 There keeps being misunderstandings and quarrels, it seems like the best thing to do is take a break. This is weird because as a believer, it seems like we need to be attached at the hip to work it all out together instead of seperately. I am sensing it has to be done for her and my healing. Has this ever happened to you?

  8. Hey, Punkin! So glad to see you here…but did you have to ask such a tough question? I do have co-dependency tendencies, meaning I love to take care of needy people so, at times, I may not see this too clearly. I’ve chosen to use the scripture to help me assess when to help and when not to help.

    We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. ~1Thessalonians 5:14 (I think you’ve heard me give this verse more than once.) 😉

    I think we need to determine when we are dealing with a(n) unruly/fainthearted/weak person to know how to respond. We do have a tendency, in the church, to want to admonish any weakness we see, and tell the fainthearted that they need to “Buck up! Don’t let depression get the better of you.” Or worse yet, “Depression is a sin. You need to repent and get right with God.”

    All of that to say, you may not yet know what you’re dealing with, but above all else, we are to love one another. Love, as defined in 1 Corinthians, is self-sacrificing. But, Punkin, by all means, don’t hurt your family. God gave you those little people to take care of first, and foremost. You are their God-given caretaker. And a WONDERFUL one, at that! Love you! 🙂

    Hey, Selena! Yes, I have had this happen to me and we did take a break from one another until we had some things figured out, or just let emotions calm down. We are to seek reconciliation, but that doesn’t always mean we must be “stuck at the hip” to make it work. We are told to live at peace with all men and seek unity. But again, as I stated above to Punkin, we do need to know what type of person with whom we are dealing. I think…??? (How’s that for confident advice?) 😉

  9. Oh, so that’s what co-dependency means! Thanks for the scriptural advice. THat’s why I ask you the hard questions because you always give me some nugget of truth to think on!
    My approach so far has been to just show her love and include her and her son in kid/mom activities. She knows that I can be depended on, and my home a safe haven of predictable chaos when the rest of her life seems a mess. But thankfully, I am already full up with care taking so I can’t really extend myself further than setting an extra plate at dinner or hosting a playdate. I did contact the caring pastor with my concerns and he’s forwarding my email to another person so that if she needs professional help, it can be available.

  10. An extra plate at dinner and hosting a playdate are wonderful ways to love! I’m sure she’s feeling your love and that’s why she knows you’re a safe person in her life. It’s wonderful you have “back-up” from the church, if you need it.

    Punkin, it sounds like you’re doing the work of a follower of Christ beautifully! Remember, she may have been led to you by none other than the God of the Universe, to feel His love through you. It’s a high calling. You’re up for it! 😉

  11. “And yet, in our reasoning, I wonder if we haven’t reasoned ourselves completely away from the command to love one another.”

    It’s a sobering thought Michelle and I think true, and it makes me sad because I’m guilty of it too. So how do we get back on the bus? Jesus loved in spite of the risk. He didn’t hold back. I do think He had good boundaries though:)

  12. Yes, Rain. He could see into the heart. He knew if the motive was pure and the hurt, real. We can’t know all of those things about each other. We do have the scripture as our reference…not to help a fool…admonishment for the unruly…if you don’t work, you don’t eat…not to even let a busybody into our homes. WOW. Foolish, unruly, lazy, busybody…cuts to the heart of the matter, doesn’t it?

    But, I do think we are told to reach out in love, as we would hope others would reach out to us, when we are in need. I think that’s another way of stating The Golden Rule.

    I have yet to give to the point of selflessness. I’m so far removed from what He’s called us to do. I know I have miles to go before I’ve given as He gave, sacrificially.

    Now, Mother Theresa…?…when she lived…Beautiful.

    How do we get back on the bus? I think it begins with our neighbors. Those people He has placed in our path who are truly hurting and poor.

    That’s what I think. But I feel such conviction as I write the words. Hmmm…

  13. “I am not responsible for anyone but myself.” As I read this, I thought that comment also included everything else you discussed.

    If we are responsible for ourselves, we are being responsible for our actions, our intentions, our spiritual, physical and emotional quest that God has asked of us.

    We are responsible for fulfilling all that is in our selves, and that means using those gifts within us to help others. I think it’s about being wise and thoughtful… taking care of ourselves and also being the stewards to others that God requires. And it also means stepping back when we aren’t the ones to fulfill what He has in mind.

    I think all of those things are covered if we are truly looking out for our WHOLE selves.

  14. “And it also means stepping back when we aren’t the ones to fulfill what He has in mind”

    That’s the part I stumble over too much of the time, Gitz. Somehow I feel I’m called to help the world, when in actuality, I’ve been asked to take care of my family, physical and spiritual, alongwith the neighbors He brings across my path. So discerning the “stepping back” becomes quite a challenge when it feels right to “help” the world.

    Make sense? Probably not. Makes no sense to me, but it seems to be a driving force in my life. One which can cause much bed rest. Actually, it’s about time for a nap, once again. 🙄

    I love you, sweet friend. Thanks for sharing your wisdom with me. 😉

  15. What a great post and an on-time read for me because I’m going through a season where I’ve separated myself completely from my friends and loved ones due to going through a really difficult time and not wanting to burden anyone with any of it. I guess that’s the other point of view that hasn’t been talked about yet [or maybe I missed it in the comments?]. How as believers we need to use the body of Christ to help us get through the tough times and to not allow the enemy to convince us that we are too much of a burden or that the individual we would like to turn to will reject us for the things we share.

    I don’t know if this makes sense or not but that’s what came to mind as I was reading your post.

    I have been meaning to respond to your email. I promise I will get to it soon. Just know that I love you.

  16. You know, Gch, I don’t really like it when you go through these seasons. I understand you feel the need to spend time alone, to hopefully not burden others; but that’s what we’ve been called to do: Live in community. Bear one another’s burdens. You are not too much to bear. Your burdens are not too heavy. I understand they feel that way to you. I get in the same place much of the time. But we really DO need each other. And I’ve found as I’ve separated myself, I can begin to feel more desperate. If you have a safe person in your life, to whom you can share your struggles, hold on for dear life. Sometimes that’s what it takes.

    I love you, Gch, and am missing you TERRIBLY!!! xoxoxoxoxo

  17. I don’t have time to read all the comments so forgive me if I’m duplicating something that’s been said.

    I’ve been talking a lot with my friend who is going through therapy for sexual abuse, and she is discovering what boundaries are (she didn’t really have any in her life before). She has a mercy gifting and can love on people like no one I’ve ever seen. However, because she didn’t have boundaries, she always put other people ahead of herself – to her own detriment. She is learning how to take care of herself and define who she is – and in that, learning who God is, so that she can be transformed into His image.

    So I find on a subject like this a balancing act between giving out of love to others, and loving yourself. The second greatest commandment is: love your neighboras yourself. There is a reason why God didn’t say “love your neighbor more than yourself.” In another place it says that men should love their wives “as their own bodies.” Again, not more than their own bodies. I find on some level that loving others properly is impossible unless we love ourselves first. So that both are put on an equally important plane. You are not to love yourself more than you love others – that is selfish – and you are not to love others more than you love yourself – that is not really love but an attempt to feel worthwhile.

    I think Christianity in general has focused so long on combating the selfishness in human nature, that it has let go of the very Godly concept of loving yourself. It is something not too many people know much about.

    Anyway. My thoughts. I have to run. Love you!

    Very good thoughts, indeed. I’m sorry I never responded…I guess I didn’t see you there. This part hit me: You are not to love yourself more than you love others – that is selfish – and you are not to love others more than you love yourself – that is not really love but an attempt to feel worthwhile. That second part is where I struggle lots…trying to feel better about myself by helping others… Thanks, Sparkle, almost five years later! (2/3/14)

  18. Concerning the last several comments:

    A book i am reading at the moment about a truly great Christian – Edgar Cayce – quotes Cayce as saying:

    We are to be responsible TO others, not For others.

    I fully understand your feelings concerning being ‘called’ to help the word and being pulled away from some truly important areas of our own ‘life’ as a result.

    Meditating on the requirement of being responsible TO, not for all others can bear fruit, i believe..

    we are all to bear responsibility for our self – our own soul – that cannot be saved just by what we do but can certainly be lost by it.

    After that, and because of that, we can be responsible to all others, Christians and those who have not yet ‘seen’ Him as we may have.

    We are always to be responsible and responsive to Him, of course.

    As to Annie’s last comment. there are very good reasons to combat the selfishness of our human ego but many confuse that into diminishing His Creation – US. Thinking we have no worth are; nothing but sin, etc

    When we accept His Spirit within us and can find the way to live IN him we can let this part of who we truly are become our Way of living we can do ‘even greater miracles than these’.

    We live and grow IN him and we learn to overcome our problems so that we can then help the world through Him.

    Patience is a part of the process.

    As is Trust, and Faith that ever grows.

    Love you Sis.♥

    <B

  19. Responsible to and not for…I need to think on that one a bit.

    I do believe we will all stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ and give an account for our deeds done in the flesh, and that this is an individual accounting. But, my question is, am I accountable for the people He brought across my path, in hopes I would help them, and yet, I didn’t, for some reason other than honorable.

    You know? Or am I just being neurotic??? I do have that tendency. 😳

  20. Accountable FOR them??

    Could i be held accountable FOR you? or anyone other than myself?

    Each of us is responsible only FOR ourselves – TO Him.

    Held to account for our actions and what is in our Heart.

    Yes we are to love others AS self, but we have no responsibility FOR them, only one TO them – if we fulfil that, what they choose to do with it is up to them and Him.

    He gave us quite enough to sort out in our own lives without giving us another person’s burden to bear on their behalf.

    I do not mean to sound callous or uncaring here – far from it. But we do need to sort out where our responsibilities lie. How much is given to us to care about others and how much we are required to account for in our own soul also.

    There will always be more to be done than one person can ever possibly achieve by themselves – or even with His Helping Hand – if we take on ‘too much on our own shoulders it may very likely prevent us from doing the most we can – or our best for Him.

    I understand being a mother can sometimes make this difficult – finding the balance – but it is very important for our soul that we indeed do learn it. To give us clarity in our True purpose.

    Our own ego is the greatest obstacle we need to overcome to live in Him and do the Will of the Father for us all.

    <B

  21. Hey Sis,

    That was a very ‘general’ statement above and i have not given you a ‘direct’ answer to your q….

    Maybe if you look at it this way…?

    There are certain to be people in your life who may have been able to help you more than they did. In the Lords Prayer we are told to forgive them their debts to us.

    The people you might be feeling ‘concerned’ about not helping as much as you could have are likewise to forgive you in the same manner.

    Holding back help when it is able to be given is not something we may feel proud of, but there are times it inevitably will happen. He sees but he forgives – if we do likewise.

    Forgive others and forgive yourself your humanness.

    But as much as it is within you – love all others and do unto them as you would have them do unto you also.

    And try not to go nuts 😉

    <B

  22. “And try not to go nuts”

    That’s the part I’m working on! Thanks, Love. You’re making sense to me, it’s just hard to break old habits, you know?

    I appreciate you and love YOU lots! So…when are you coming to Texas??? 😉

  23. Thanks for a very good post. I am also going through what you described in the very first paragraph of your post. This time regarding money. I am willing to give money to the poor and needy. But when someone asks for money to buy luxury things, or things not nessary needed for the daily survival, or because the wife doesn’t want to go to work … what to do? There’s the bible verse ‘love your neighbor as yourself’ … so what to do? Give only the poor and needy and leave the others out?
    What does the bible say?

  24. Hey, Noblese! The Bible refers to needs, not greeds. I think that’s crucial to understanding the “giving” discussed in the NT.

    Many instuctions are given to help those in need, but nothing is said of giving to help someone live the life of luxury they might desire. You might just be helping them along in their desire for more (coveting?).

    You ask, “Give only the poor and needy and leave the others out?”

    My answer:

    We haven’t yet given to the poor and needy to such an extent that the problem has been alleviated. The poor and needy are still, very much, among us.

    We are to take care of our families, but we are also not to indulge the flesh. I read a book a LONG time ago, when my kids were young, Raising Self-Reliant Children in a Self-Indulgent World. It was quite helpful to realize what we think we need could very well be greed.

    The Bible says we are not to be greedy.

    Hope that helps…

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