Here are seven steps that show us what ‘loving one another looks like.’ And just so we’re clear about how important the command is: Jesus, Paul, Peter and John all tell the church to love one another. It was a command of Jesus, repeated by his apostles.
Jesus: Jn 13:34 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”
Paul: 1 Th 4:9 “Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another”
Peter: 1 Pe 4:8 “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.“
John: 1Jn 3:23 “And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us.” So the question then is: are your heart and your actions full of love for your fellow Christians?
Here’s how the New Testament fleshes out what love looks like in six simple ways.
STEP 1: LIVE IN HARMONY/PEACE WITH ONE ANOTHER
Greet one another with a holy kiss. (Also 2Co 13:12: 1Pe 5:14, Rom 16:16, 1Co 16:20). I’m not from a culture where it is normal to greet one another with a kiss yet in many places in the world this is still the way you greet one another. In Sweden or the UK where I am from, we don’t do kissing to say hello. So make sure that you “Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” (Rom 15:7). This is more than being polite, it is making sure that the person you greet knows they are accepted and welcomed as they are.
(Mk 9:50) Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”
(Rom 12:16) Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.
Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. (1Jn 1:7) But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
STEP 2: SERVE ONE ANOTHER
(Gal 5:13) For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. (1Pe 4:10) As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another , as good stewards of God’s varied grace: (Joh 13:14) If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. (Gal 6:2) Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
STEP 3: BE KIND & CARING TO EACH OTHER
(Est 9:22) as the days on which the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month that had been turned for them from sorrow into gladness and from mourning into a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and gladness, days for sending gifts of food to one another and gifts to the poor. (1Pe 4:9) Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. (1Co 11:33) So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another— (Zec 7:9) Thus says the LORD of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, (1Th 5:15) See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. (Eph 4:32) Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (1Co 12:25) that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.
STEP 4: FORGIVE ONE ANOTHER
(Jas 5:16) Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. (Eph 4:2) with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, (Col 3:13) bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
STEP 5: ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER
(Rom 12:10) Outdo one another in showing honour. (1Th 5:11) Therefore encourage one another and build one another up , just as you are doing. (Also 1Th 4:18 (Heb 3:13) But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. (Heb 10:24) And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works , (Heb 10:25) not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
STEP 6: DISCIPLE EACH OTHER
(1Pe 5:5) “Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (Eph 5:21) “submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.“ (Zec 8:16) “These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another ; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace;“ (Rom 15:14) “I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another.” (Col 3:16) “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.“ (Eph 5:19) “addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs , singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart”