Sanctify one another, humble one another, scrutinize one another, pressure one another, embarrass one another, corner one another, interrupt one another, defeat one another, sacrifice one another, shame one another, judge one another, run one another’s lives, confess one another’s sins, intensify one another’s sufferings, point out one another’s failings . . . .
The kind of God we really believe in is revealed in how we treat one another. The lovely gospel of Jesus positions us to treat one another like royalty, and every non-gospel positions us to treat one another like dirt. But we will follow through horizontally on whatever we believe vertically.
Our relationships with one another, then, are telling us what we really believe as opposed to what we think we believe, our convictions as opposed to our opinions. It is possible for the gospel to remain at the shallow level of opinion, even sincere opinion, without penetrating to the level of real conviction. But when the gospel grips us at the level of conviction, we obey its implications whatever the cost. Therefore, if we are not treating one another well, then what we’re facing is not a lack of niceness but a lack of gospel. Our deficit is not primarily personal but theological. What we need is not only better manners but, far more, true faith. Then the watching world will know that Jesus has come in among us:
“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. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35