the weblog of Alan Knox

New and Improved "One Anothers"

Posted by on Dec 16, 2008 in discipleship | 6 comments

Most Christians are familiar with the “one anothers” of Scripture, such as love one another, serve one another, forgive one another, accept one another, teach one another, encourage one another, be kind to one another… These exhortations worked well for the early church, but now they’re outdated.

The modern church lives by a set of “one anothers” that are both new and improved! While on the surface it may seem that these “one anothers” are negative, in reality they strengthen the church by keeping it from being changed or transformed – just the kind of church that God wants!

Be acquainted with one another
Yes, the Bible said to “love one another”, but we know that we can’t love everyone. So, its much better to be acquainted with people. That way, you can call their name when you pass in the hallway. Name tags are especially helpful in keeping this new exhortation.

Ignore one another
This one is related to “be acquainted with one another”, but its a little more spiritual. We don’t want people to think they they are the center of the universe, so its better to ignore people and their problems, especially when you have something better to do. So, when you ask someone, “How are you?”, if they say something more than “Fine” or “Okay”, its best to simply ignore them.

Ridicule one another
Again, on the surface this looks bad. However, in reality, there is nothing better to get people to have the right theology – MY theology – than to ridicule them and their beliefs. The more theological terms you use while ridiculing them the better. This is especially useful in response to new ideas and suggestions.

Give a little to one another
Keep some change in your pocket in case someone needs something. That way, you have fulfilled your spiritual responsibilities while, at the same time, not costing yourself too much. If you want to be very spiritual, keep an extra one or five dollar bill in your billfold.

Organize one another
People need help knowing what to do and how to do it. Who better to show them than you? Keep people in line, or the church could be in big trouble!

Remind one another of their wrongs
People often forget that they are sinners and that they’ve hurt you in the past. Remind them of this… often… especially if someone good happens to someone. Again, we don’t want people to think too highly of themselves, so its our responsibility to knock them down a notch.

Be served by one another
People like to serve you. Let them… but only a little, and only in insignificant things. You don’t want people to think that you aren’t independent. So, give them little, meaningless jobs to remind them that you are too important to do them yourself.

Kick one another when their down
I really don’t have to mention this, because the church is so good at it. But, its always good to have a reminder. When someone falls, make sure you keep them down for a long time. Then, when they get up, don’t help them. They need to learn to stand on their own two feet.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, smile at one another
No one wants to be around someone who is hurting or sorrowful or depressed. So, put a big smile on your face regardless of your circumstances or how you’re feeling.

As long as the church keeps following these new and improved “one anothers”, the church will continue to make a difference in the world – just like it is now.


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 12-16-2008

    Ouch. I am sorry to say I have seen this behavior and engaged in some of it myself.

    As pogo said “We have met the enemy, and it is us”.

  2. 12-16-2008

    Somebody told me that I was a creative blogger, you beat the breaks off of me hands down! LOL!!!

    I think you are corect. Now let me ask you do you think we are taught this today? How are we to combat? Do you think we should be praying that God allows us to serve others? And to bear one another burdens?

    Not to mention do you think our current masquerade that goes on Sunday after Sunday helps perpetuate this? (not Church in itself but the lack of anything intimate by not allowing people in our lives and not wanting to get invovled in the lives of others).

  3. 12-16-2008

    Usher: Hey Deak, doesn’t this speak to how the humans just cannot accept the fact that they truly are selfish beings?

    Deacon: Yep, somehow someone told them if they put on the hint of selflessness, then they will be considered “christians”.

    Usher: Can one truly be selfless?

    Deacon: Nope. Not a chance. Can you be an eagle? Can you be a parrot? Perhaps a cardinal? You’re a buzzard dude. Nothing more, nothing less. You eat roadkill and you hang out where things die.

    Usher: How is it that we spend so much time hangin’ around churches?

  4. 12-16-2008

    Obviously you put up someone else’s picture and profile, because you are exactly describing my former church, yet I don’t recognize you. Since I really did know everyone there, you must be one of those people, not who you claim to be!

    Perhaps there are some who have the energy and are young enough to spend many years trying to get churches to change. Not me. I’ve seen so many burn out trying. It rarely works.

    The solution I have found: forget the Christian “religion” and all its grand buildings, programs and employees. Instead, follow Jesus and hang out where He hangs out – among the poor, homeless, widows, orphans, gays, prostitutes and occasionally even at a rich sinner’s party.

  5. 12-16-2008


    Thank you again for a reminder of my “holier-than-thou” days.

    Later I began to use a saying, I can’t say whether it was original or not, but it seemed to echo my changed understanding: “WE must be SEEN TO BE what we SAY WE ARE”.

  6. 12-16-2008

    Thank you, everyone, for the comments. I hate to say it, but I’ve lived out all of these “new and improved” one anothers. While it is much more difficult to live out the true, scriptural one anothers in Scripture, I’ve also found that I always seem to find God in the scriptural one anothers, but not in these “new and improved” one anothers.