God intends for us to go through life together. He created marriage and family (Genesis 2.18; 4.1-2). God also planned the church which was purchased by the blood of His own Son (Acts 20:28). The word “church” or “ekklessia” refers to “a regularly summoned legislative body, assembly” (BDAG Greek Lexicon) at its most basic usage. It is a group of people meeting and serving for Christ. When we are in a group of any kind, we understand that the relationships in that group must be nurtured if they are to continue. This is often difficult, but it is always rewarding. How do we do it?
We “strive for peace with everyone”–Hebrews 12.4
We “honor all men” and “love the brotherhood”–1 Peter 2:17
We “ought to love one another, because God loved us”–1John 4:11,19
These exhortations are summarized in the command to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18). This demands a respect for self and a respect for others.
If we follow these admonitions, there will be fewer hurt feelings, fewer careless words, and fewer friends lost. God’s people deserve the very best and should expect the best treatment from their brothers and sister in Christ. Unfortunately, the lost world is sometimes more gracious than those saved by grace.
Ephesians 4:32And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you