“Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.”
The New Testament epistles of Paul and James also issues several negative commands regarding ways in which as “members of one another” we ought not to be treating and relating with each other.
Note the following (negative) commands:
1. Do not lie to one another (Colossians 3:9)
2. Stop passing judgment on one another. (Romans 14:13)
3. If you keep on biting and devouring each other…..you’ll be destroyed by each other.(Galatians 5:15).
4. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other (Galatians 5:26)
5. Do not slander one another (James 4:11)
6. Don’t grumble against each other. (James 5:9)
It would be interesting to note that virtually all these commands have to do with the way we speak: lying, passing judgment, biting and devouring, provoking and envying, slandering and grumbling against one another.
These kind of “talk” tears down and ultimately destroys relationships. As members of ONE BODY, we should be focusing on “building up” and not “tearing down”. When we hurt any member of the body, the rest is also hurt. It also causes divisions and that weakens the body.
“But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” (1 Corinthians 12:24-26)
These negative commands apply even with relationships within biological families. When these negative behavior and interactions are allowed to be practiced, the family will be a very dysfunctional, disunited and unhappy place to be. These kinds of behaviors should never be tolerated or encouraged in the church family too.
Can you imagine members repeatedly slandering each other, grumbling against each other, judging each other and backbiting each other? When that becomes a way of life in the church, there is no way she will be able to carry out the work of God effectively and be a credible witness for the Gospel in the world.
(1) In what ways have we been indulging in negative talk and interactions?
(2) Do an honest heart-check?
(3) Do we justify these kinds of behavior and allow it to carry on without us lovingly putting it to a stop?
(4) Do we realize how detrimental and destructive it is to the family of God, the church?
(5) How can we address this problem in the church in a gentle, yet firm and godly way?
Pray that all of us, as members of one another, will submit to the commands of the Lord and align our hearts and lips to the ways of God governing relationships. Pray for repentant hearts if we have in any way been guilty of such behavior. Pray for grace to confront with love those who are erring. We desire to see God truly bless our family.