Before Christmas supplies reached 50% off sales, the next consumer event appeared. Pink and red decorations covered shelves, and card displays reminded us of Valentine’s Day.
A day designated as an opportunity to show love, affection, and friendship sees excited children write cards and place them in handmade boxes to exchange at school. Syrupy cards express love. Funny cards border on corny. Special friends are remembered. TV commercials promote romantic dinners. Flowers are sold at outrageous prices, and chocolates are molded in assorted shapes and placed in decorative boxes.
Caring for others is not a new idea. The New Testament tells us how to relate to “one another” fifty-nine times. A sampling tells us:
“Be at peace with each other.” (Mark 9:50)
“…Love one another…” (John 13:34)
“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love…” (Romans 12:10)
“…Honor one another above yourselves. (Romans 12:10)
“Live in harmony with one another…” (Romans 12:16)
“…Stop passing judgment on one another.” (Romans 14:13)
“Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you…” (Romans 15:7)
“…Instruct one another.” (Romans 15:14)
“…When you come together to eat, wait for each other.” (I Cor. 11:33)
“…Have equal concern for each other.” (I Corinthians 12:25)
“…Serve one another in love.” (Galatians 5:13)
“Carry each other’s burdens…” (Galatians 6:2)
“…Be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (Ephesians 4:2)
“…Forgiving each other…” (Ephesians 4:32)
“Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.” (Ephesians 5:19)
“…In humility consider others better than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3)
“Do not lie to each other…” (Colossians 3:9)
“Bear with each other…” (Colossians 3:13)
“…Forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.” (Colossians 3:13)
“Teach…one another” (Colossians 3:16)
“…Admonish one another (Colossians 3:16)
“…Make your love increase and overflow for each other.” (I Thessalonians 3:12)
“…Encourage each other…” I Thessalonians 5:11)
“…Build each other up…” (I Thessalonians 5:11)
“…Spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” (Hebrews 10:24)
“…Do not slander one another.” (James 4:11)
“Don’t grumble against each other…” (James 5:9)
“Confess your sins to each other…” (James 5:16).
“…Pray for each other.” (James 5:16)
“…Love one another deeply, from the heart.” (I Peter 3:8)
“Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.” (I Peter 4:9)
. “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others…” (I Peter 4:10)
“Greet one another with a kiss of love.” (I Peter 5:14)
We’re quick to celebrate February 14, but what about “one another” on other days? A reflection on our day might reveal we have chosen a quick text over time in a phone or live conversation; a monologue instead of asking someone a question to show interest or concern; my convenience and schedule over time to invest in a relationship; or personal preoccupation and so treating someone as invisible.
It’s fun to give and receive flowers and sweets, or read a special sentiment in a card or note. But perhaps we can look for the “one another” call scripture gives us as we communicate, relate, and regularly put love in action in practical ways.
If ever a holiday centered on caring for others personally and collectively, it’s Valentine’s Day. If ever some feel left out, it’s Valentine’s Day. If ever, we can put love in action, it’s any day.
Responding to “one another” won’t take us to browse store shelves and spend money, just uncover treasures of a “one another” when we take time any day of the year.
Which “one another” speaks to you, and do you have “another” in mind?