How Church Members Should Treat Each Other / How to Treat Each Other in God’s Family
How Church Members Should Treat Each Other. The church is the body of Christ Jesus that is made up of members from different backgrounds yet united through the blood of Jesus Christ. We all come from different Backgrounds and Family. These Essential Qualities Help us Live as a Family and Draw others to Christ. In all Families it is a Chall4enge to Live in Unison – These Tips will Help
- Avoiding Competition / All on the Same Team
- Make Unity a Priority
- Accepting Each other with our Backgrounds and Faults
- Showing Hospitality
- Being Submissive to Each Other
- Not Being Judgemental
- Loving Each Other
No one ever chooses to belong to a certain church congregation, we all find ourselves to belong to a particular congregation at a given time. The members of any church congregation become a family in which they should learn to live and relate together.
Just like in the case of newly married couples, there is a period of getting to learn and understand one another. This is because most of the church members have come from different religious and cultural backgrounds.
This is very true today with how easy it is to travel. A person can get on a plane and in 12 hours be on the other side of the world. In Jesus Days in The Roman empire, it was then also a melting pot. Peoples, nationalities, slaves, indention of people for debts. made the local congregations very diverse in their make up.
It is therefore upon each and every member of the church to be patient and bear the responsibility of ensuring that they treat each other in a godly way.
We are going to look at some of the characters that may undermine a healthy relationship amongst Children of God, From different Backgrounds, and at different stages of growth in their Christian life.
Avoid Competition Among Members.
God in His wisdom has distributed various gifts to each and every member of the church. This is for the edification of the entire body of Jesus Christ.
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, ( Ephesians 4:11-12).
Every gift in the body of Christ is very important and there is no gift that is greater compared to the others. In case one gift is esteemed to be higher than the others, it will definitely cause competition. Every gifted individual will want to outdo the others. This should never happen at all because it will bring unnecessary competition. After all, we should never compare ourselves to others and if we need to compare ourselves let us compare ourselves to only one man: the man Jesus Christ.
I visited a very Evangelistic Congregation in California, maybe 15 years ago. I had to go to the bathroom. So I went into the men’s Restroom. When I went in I found one of the members of the congregation in a suit and tie was cleaning the toilet. I was immediately struck with his humility. He saw a need and was not too proud to kneel down and do it. I never forgot this and it immediately reminded me of Jesus Putting on a towel and washing the disciple’s feet, as they were beginning the last supper in the upper room.
For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. ( 2 Corinthians 10:12).
For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think but to think soberly, as God has dealt with each one a measure of faith. (Romans 12:3).
Instead, we should now aim at giving preference to one another. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another. ( Romans 12:10).
This Level of Humility will help us not have a Spirit of Competition, but one of Comradary.
If we do this we will never witness competition in church. Whoever God uses to serve in the church will be accepted by the other members
A church is one unit under the leadership of one Lord who is Jesus Christ as explained by Apostle Paul in the book of Ephesians;
endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; (Ephesians 4:3-5).
There should be no time that the church should find itself forming divisions amongst themselves. There should be no groupings that have been formed based on personal interests. Neither should members choose who to relate to based on their social standings, financial status, or influence in the society. Everyone should be free to relate to every member of the church.
So unfortunately we see the church in Corinth forming divisions that forced Apostle Paul to intervene and rebuke the vice.
And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal.
For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal? Watering, Working, Warning
Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.
Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building.
According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. ( 1 Corinthians 3: 1-11)
Divisions in the church can be dealt with if we all are of the same mind towards one another. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. (Romans 12:16).
We should always pray to God to grant us the spirit of being like-minded towards each other.
Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus.(Romans 15:5)
Accepting Each Other
Nothing hurts than being discriminated against and rejected. Recently there were huge protests all over the world due to a form of racial discrimination amongst the black community. If we are not careful we can easily allow such rejection and discrimination rule the Body of Christ.
A rejected person feels insecure and this may in turn affect their self-esteem. The church needs to show love to people who feel rejected by society. Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry associated with such people who seemed to be rejected by society.
I believe Jesus Christ did this intentionally to teach us how we are supposed to relate with the rejected and discriminated people in society. We see Him dining with tax collectors and sinners.
As a result, we see the great impact of this virtue. Zacchaeus the tax collector is shown love to an extent of repenting and receiving salvation. This is what we are all called to do; being the light that shines in the darkest world.
In any church gathering, not all members will fit our expectations. Some may be undergoing or recovering from various past mistakes or addictions. Others may come from different backgrounds that we may find strange. But these are the ones that Christ came for; seeking and saving that which was lost. It is therefore not our duty to investigate and discriminate them. But Instead, we should treat them with the love of God.
Such members should be received warmly by the congregation. This is a way of extending God’s love. Remember most of us were not that holy when we encountered Jesus Christ. We had our own challenges and struggles.
But Jesus Christ received us just the way we were and He is cleansing us.
Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God. ( Romans 15:7).
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.
And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. ( 1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
It should be understood that we are all in the process of sanctification. God is every time cleansing us through His word as we are being transformed into His image and from one glory to another.
The Church is a Hospital bringing the Outcast, The Broken, the maimed, and because of our closeness with Christ making them whole.
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. ( 2 Corinthians 3:18).
The rejection and discrimination come as a result of us not bearing one another’s burden. Christianity is a journey and a process of growth. Those who have already grown in faith should not puff up but be ready to bear the burdens of the Christians who are babes and growing in faith. Bear one another burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. ( Galatians 6:2)
This Might be Strong, but I truly believe if one is growing and changing more and more into the likeness of Jesus. That Means a Year from Now you will be different. Lord Willing, You will Have Grown.
Hospitability is just the generosity extended towards each other mostly to the new people we come across. It is the kind of showing kindness without expecting favor or reward. Unfortunately, we live in a world that people mind about their own business and only what concerns them.
One of the qualities that Apostle Paul instructs his son Timothy to look for in choosing someone in the leadership post of a Bishop is the character of being hospitable. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; ( 1 Timothy 3:2).
This means that hospitality is one of the greatest virtue that a Christian should possess especially when relating to one another.
There is a certain lady with an exemplary character in the book of Acts. This lady was known as Lydia. She did something extraordinary to the Apostles in persuading them to stay in her house.
And on the Sabbath day, we went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made; and we sat down and spoke to the women who met there. Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God.
The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul. And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” So she persuaded us. (Acts 16:13-15).
Following her heart of being hospitable, Paul and Silas after being released from prison decided to visit her and became an encouragement to the brethren who were in her house.
So they went out of the prison and entered the house of Lydia; and when they had seen the brethren, they encouraged them and departed.( Acts 16:40).
Hospitality should not be accompanied by grumbling. Because someone who is hospitable doesn’t expect to receive something in return. Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. ( 1 Peter 4:9)
Be Submissive to One Another.
Submission is not an easy thing especially if people have different social standings, ranking, or authorities. Naturally, it is considered that those who are considered to be of low standings, ranking or authority should be submissive to the others.
If this happens, it is a clear indication of a lack of humility. We should know that in Christ Jesus we are all equal and God shows personal favoritism to no man ( Galatians 2:6).
We should all emulate the humility that was in Christ Jesus as explained in the book of Philippians by Apostle Paul.
Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: [Let Him be your example in humility:] Who, although being essentially one with God and in the form of God [possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God God], did not think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped or retained,
But stripped Himself [of all privileges and rightful dignity], so as to assume the guise of a servant (slave), in that He became like men and was born a human being. And after He had appeared in human form, He abased and humbled Himself [still further] and carried His obedience to the extreme of death, even the death of the cross!
Therefore [because He stooped so low] God has highly exalted Him and has freely bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, That in (at) the name of Jesus every knee should (must) bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, And every tongue [frankly and openly] confess and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. ( Philippians 2: 5-11 AMP).
When I was a Young man, I was on my first Mission trip to Tema, Ghana, West Africa. I was young, newly married maybe 26 years old. As we worked there for two weeks the local Christian Preacher and his wife hosted us while we were there.
We were sitting there one night and they had prepared for us dinner. We were not use to the local food, so to us the meal was a tomatoes based Fish soup over rice. It had a reals strong soap taste to it quite strong. The mission team were barely eating and were exchanging comments on how bad the food was. I finished and took my plate back to the kitchen, I pulled the curtain back and the preacher’s wife and children, were in the middle of the room on the floor eating the burnt rice that was left in the pot.
I was so ashamed I had been complaining when that family had given us their very best they had – A lesson in Humility and Hospitality – I remember clearly to this day – I am 66 Now.
Do Not Condemning One Another
A Christian that is judgmental will never appreciate anything or see any good thing from each other. This comes from a character of self-righteousness. One considers himself to be more righteous than others based on his own standards.
This was the like some of the Pharisees, the scribes, and the teachers of the law during the time of Jesus Christ. They considered themselves to be more righteous than the others.
Jesus Christ despised self-righteousness during His earthly ministry. He really condemned those who were really practicing it.
The story of the woman who was caught in adultery and brought to Jesus Christ clearly reveals how a man can be quick in judging the other.
I love the way the story ends, Jesus asks all those who were ready to judge and stone the woman if amongst them there was anyone who was without sin.
One by one they all left starting with the eldest and left the woman with Jesus. Look at the words Jesus Christ tells the woman.
When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord. “And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” ( John 8: 10-11)
Loving One Another
God forbid, this should never be happening in any body of Christ. If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? ( 1 John 4:20)
Hatred is a clear indication of hypocrisy at it’s highest level. He further compares a person who hates his brother to a murderer and someone still in darkness. Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.( 1 John 3:15).
He who says he is in the light and hates his brother is in darkness until now. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. ( 1 John 2: 9-11)
Love is the greatest commandment that Jesus Christ taught His disciples. Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?
“Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. ‘This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” ( Mathew 22:35-40).
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. ( 1 Corinthians 13:13)
Love is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit which all Christians should desire to bear.
Apostle Paul explains to us the characteristics of love in the book of 1 Corinthians.
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.
But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. ( 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8).