08 October 2012

Accepting one another in love

All around us are people who seem to be difficult, unlovely, angry, and burdensome. If we follow Jesus we will find a way to love all these people. And the benefits of doing so are boundless.

The Henri Nouwen Society website
This is a repost of something I wrote in June. It seems appropriate to use it as link six in a chain blog started by Alan Knox on the topic 'One Another'.

Showing is more powerful than telling. Doing and showing is how Yahshua often revealed the truth. That doesn't mean he didn't use words, but he did things like washing his follower's feet and then used words (if necessary) to clarify the meaning of the action.

To love or to judge? - A difficult situation arose amongst friends recently, and the Spirit of Christ showed me that the best way to resolve it will be to demonstrate love. Isn't this always the best way? I think so.

We are not called to put one another right. We are called to accept one another just as we are, to love the unlovable. If I cannot do this, how will I ever love anyone? And if those around me can't do this, how will I ever be loved? Papa loved us long before we began to love him. If I am truly made in his image I will love others before they love me. Sometimes this may be very hard - but it is also very necessary.

If I demonstrate love and others copy my example, great benefit and joy and peace will result! If I demonstrate judgement and others copy my example, great misery and shame and angst will result. Why do we find it so hard to go first in love? And why do we find it so easy to go first in judgement?

Henri Nouwen understood these principles. The quote below is a meditation from the Henri Nouwen Society website. You might consider signing up for these emails yourself, they are always helpful and always so gentle and wise.

Small Steps of Love - How can we choose love when we have experienced so little of it? We choose love by taking small steps of love every time there is an opportunity. A smile, a handshake, a word of encouragement, a phone call, a card, an embrace, a kind greeting, a gesture of support, a moment of attention, a helping hand, a present, a financial contribution, a visit ... all these are little steps toward love.

Each step is like a candle burning in the night. It does not take the darkness away, but it guides us through the darkness. When we look back after many small steps of love, we will discover that we have made a long and beautiful journey.

In the life of Jesus - Here are some other examples from the life of Jesus (there are many more, the gospels are full of them). Jesus was quick to feed the hungry crowd, speak to the woman at the well, call to Zacchaeus in the sycamore fig tree, die for our sin, release the woman caught in adultery, heal the sick, cast out demons, turn water to wine. In every case people were needy, inconvenient, sinful, unlovable, pressing in, without hope. In every case Jesus touched them in their need and error and unloveliness.

Here's a challenge. Who will you find to love today? And how will you express that love?

See also

  • Henry Drummond wrote an essay called 'The greatest thing in the world'. It's on love and is available as a free download. Highly recommended.
  • Greg Gamble's list of 'The One Anothers' as basic rules of engagement for believers.

This post is the sixth link in a chain blog, started by Alan Knox, on the topic 'One Another'. Please have a look back through the other links and comments to join in the topic. You can even join in the chain – read the rules below to participate.

 Links in the 'One Another' Chain Blog
  1. Chain Blog: One Another - Alan Knox
  2. Linking One Another - Swanny
  3. What Does It Mean to Love One Another? - Chuck McKnight 
  4. The treasure of 'One Another' - Jim Puntney
  5. This is how the world shall recognise you... - Kathleen Ward
  6. Accepting one another in love - Chris Jefferies
  7. One Another-ing: A meta-narrative for the church - Greg Gamble (also see part 2)
  8. Individualism and 'one another' - Pieter Pretorious
  9. All Alone with One Another - Jeremy Myers
  10. When it's OK for Christians to compete - Joshua Lawson
  11. Jesus Christ: the Corner Stone for One Another - Peter
  12. Be Superficial With One Another - Jon Hutton
  13. The Unmentionable One Anothers - Alan Knox
  14. Loving more fully and widely - Chris Jefferies
  15. The one another weapon - Dan Allen
  16. Corporate one anothering (Part 1) and (Part 2)- David Bolton
  17. The last revival - Tobie van der Westhuizen
  18. Love: a 'one another' comic - Dan Allen
  19. I can only love you if... - Rob
  20. Who will write the next link post in the chain?
Chain Blog Rules
  1. If you would like to write the next blog post (link) in this chain, leave a comment on the most recent post stating that you would like to do so. If someone else has already requested to write the next link, then please wait for that blog post and leave a comment there requesting to write the following link.
  2. Feel free to leave comments here and discuss items in this blog post without taking part in the actual “chain.” Your comments and discussion are very important in this chain blog (both this post and the other link posts in the chain).
  3. When you write a link in this chain, please reply in the comments of the previous post to let everyone know that your link is ready. Also, please try to keep an updated list of links in the chain at the bottom of your post, and please include these rules at the bottom of your post.


  1. Chris,

    Thanks for taking part in the "one another" chain blog! I love how you ended your post with a challenge to action. It's one thing to talk about the various "one another" instructions in Scripture, but it's something completely different to actually live them out. And, like you said, a living example is one of the best ways to learn how to live them out.


  2. Chris.
    Im glad u referenced Henri Nouwen because he lived an uber one another life, within the context of his Roman Catholicism, very close to where I live in Toronto. I regret hearing of him but not meeting or sharing in his work, and I look forward to speaking with him in eternity about several of his incredibly difficult trials and struggles. I have several friends who were saved out of long standing homosexuality, and like them, Henri was able to overcome with the help of a loving community. I echo your suggestion to read him.
    I will post # 7 next, as soon as I clean it up a bit.
    Like you, I started my post several months ago and this seems like the right time to post it.

  3. Thanks Alan, the challenge to action is as much to me as to anyone else!

  4. Look forward to reading your linked post in due course, Greg. Thanks for joining in. I would love to have met Henri Nouwen too :-)

  5. My post is up. I had written most of it several weeks ago and have divided it into two parts. Part one is now #7 in the chain blog, and part two wont be posted as part of the chain blog. If you would like to read part two, it follows part one on our blog site.http://oneanotherdaily.blogspot.ca/2012/10/this-post-is-part-one-of-two-part.html

  6. I love your point that we are called to love another just as we are. This is such an important truth in the family of God, but so often missed and neglected. This sort of love is the key to unity! Thanks for sharing, and for participating in this chain!

  7. I love what you said about loving others before they love us. That is what Jesus was saying in the Sermon on the Mount when he said 'bless those who persecute you' - but it's so easy to forget that and just think of the wrong someone has done to us. The small steps of love are great too. Recently I had to try to forgive someone for something and I prayed that I would be able to, but when I met them I also felt I needed to go and talk to them - it didn't matter what about - to try to make the practical step to love and forgive them as well, and it really made a difference.

  8. Simple and yet profound, and I treasure this phrase:

    "Each step is like a candle burning in the night. It does not take the darkness away, but it guides us through the darkness. When we look back after many small steps of love, we will discover that we have made a long and beautiful journey."

  9. Thank you all for your comments so far. You encourage me to press on and I'm grateful for that :-)

  10. I'm keeping this chain blog going with a new post called "The Unmentionable One Anothers." I'd love your input!




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