Have you ever noticed that family members are some of the hardest people to love? Sure, we have the familial feeling of love toward them, but then the way we treat them defies our supposed love for them. We have a tendency to treat strangers and acquaintances better than our own family.
I guess it's because we have seen our family members at their best and at their worst, and our family has seen the same in us. We tend to place unrealistic expectations on each other and then when those expectations aren't met, we get upset with one other.
The same could be said of the Body of Christ. The church body is our spiritually family. We are brothers and sisters in the Lord. As we grow in our relationships with our fellow church members, we begin to place unrealistic expectations on them and then the cycle begins.
A Biblical Model
In 1 Peter 4:8-10, the Apostle Peter gives us an excellent model for relating to our fellow believers in the Lord:
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
Four Steps In Relating To Other Believers
From the above verses, Peter gives four steps that fellow believers should follow in their relationships with one another.
- Love deeply. When you love someone deeply, forgiveness flows easily. You overlook the flaws and problems in others. You are less judgmental and more understanding. You are careful not to place overly high expectations on others.
- Be generous. The foundation for hospitality is a generous spirit. You are willing to share with others what God has blessed you with. This may be financial or material blessings from the Lord. This may be welcoming fellow believers into your home for a place to stay. And most importantly, you are willing to share your time with others. "Give yourself entirely to those around you. Be generous with your blessings. A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal." - Steve Maraboli
- Don't complain. As we express a generous spirit to others and love them deeply, we need to avoid complaining about it. Don't hold grudges against those who are taking what you are generously giving.
- Serve each other. The Lord has called us to be faithful managers of what He has blessed us with, whether it be time, abilities, or finances. We can take these blessings from the Lord and selfishly keep them for ourselves, or we can turn around and serve each other with those blessings. Peter encourages us to take those gifts we have received from God in order to minister to one another.
How have you been relating to fellow believers, lately? In which of these four areas do you need to experience growth as you attempt to relate to your brothers and sisters in Christ in a better way?
Also check out these related posts: