Teachings on Relationships with Others
1. Feed My Sheep/Take Care of Other Believers
When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” Again, Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?” He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.” The third time he said to him “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.” John 21:15-17
Jesus often describes his followers as sheep. Jesus was calling Peter to tend to the people of God. It was a calling that required sacrifice and commitment. Jesus tells Peter that if he loved Him, then he should take care of his fellow man.
Invest in the growth of other believers.
Feed, teach, support, and nourish other believers.
When we love Jesus, we must express our love to Him.
Besides feeding with God’s Word, we must also feed them by extending a warm welcome to the newcomer, befriending the lonely, encouraging the shy, loving the unloved, being role-models for the young, feeding the hungry, providing resources for the needy, offering hospitality, praying for all, etc.
When we love Jesus, we express our love to Him by teaching God’s word to all Christians, as well as guiding, warning, protecting, disciplining, and restoring them. It also includes warning them against false doctrines, protecting them from wrong associations, and disciplining them.
2. Do not despise little ones/Treat Other Believers with Dignity
“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. Matthew 18:10
Christ uses the term “little ones” or “child” to mean Christians. He warned that it is a dangerous thing to cause a believer to stumble morally.
Jesus wants us to treat other believers with dignity.
Treat other believers with respect, even if they practice their faith differently than we do. Do not think that what you do or do not do makes you more acceptable in the LORD’s sight.
Paul’s admonishment is to never take advantage of a fellow believer in anyway – socially, financially or any other way.
We are to love one another, to serve one another, to pray for one another, to help one another, to encourage one another, but never, never are we to take advantage of one another.
Remember the context of the command, it was the fact that the disciples were bickering among themselves over who was the greatest that prompted this whole teaching. In their selfish ambition to climb to the top, they more than willing to put each other down.
The Parable of the Wandering Sheep
10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.
12 “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? 13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. 14 In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish. Matthew 18:10-14
3. Judging Others
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Matthew 7:1-2
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?” Matthew 7:3-4
37″Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Luke 6:37
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Luke 6:41-42
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7
Whatever judgment you give others will be the very way you are judged by God. If you have been shrewd in finding out the shortcomings of others, remember that will be exactly how you will be measured.
Criticism and judging others is vindictive and cruel. People judge and criticize to make themselves look superior. Judging others means to criticize, backbite, gossip, censor, condemn, and grumble against another person. It means to talk about and to tear down another person; to share things about another person that cut and hurt him and that lower his image and reputation in the eyes of others. The word usually means to talk about a person behind his back, when he is not present.
Be merciful. Always assume the best and give people a chance to make their wrongs right. Look at others with eyes of mercy instead of criticism. Jesus is telling us to work on our own faults rather than judge others.
Christian believers are to be loving, caring, and looking after each other, not destroying each other. We are to be supporting, encouraging, and building up one another, not tearing down one another. Think of people’s good attributes rather than looking for their weaknesses.
We cannot believe that some people are acceptable and others are not.
Excluding anyone, or seeing ourselves or our group as inherently better than any other is wrong. We may disagree and discern another person or group to be wrong-but when that discernment causes us to value another person or group less, then we’ve crossed the line into judgment, condemnation, and exclusion.
4. Forgive Offenders
Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. Matthew 6:12
4 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 14-15
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. Matthew 18:21-22
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” Mark 11:25-26
“If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. 4 Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.” Luke 17:3-4
For Jesus, forgiveness is of paramount importance.
When we recite the Lord’s Prayer we are asking God to forgive us, as much as we forgive others.
Bitterness is related to hatred and anger. In bitterness we feel that we have been subjected to an injustice. We want vindication and vengeance. If we brood on the injustice we suffered we will become bitter. The bitterness will run our life. Hatred and anger will be near us and love and forgiveness will be far away. We have all suffered injustice. We also need to remember that we have created injustice ourselves. If all the unjust are to be punished we must remember that that includes us. If we want to be forgiven rather than be punished then we must grant that to others as well. So Jesus says to you, “How severely shall I punish injustice?” Not being stupid we respond, “Lord, please punish not but have mercy and forgive.”
Never take revenge on the people who have hurt you. Be quick to forgive, just as Jesus forgave you. Choose forgiveness over bitterness or revenge.
Forgiveness does not come naturally, it is an intentional, a conscious choice.
Forgiveness sets you free from bitterness, rage, and hatred toward others.
Jesus used parables to illustrate various aspects of forgiveness.
During his conversation with Peter, Jesus told the parable of the unforgiving servant (Mt 18:23-35).
Luke’s gospel has a series of five forgiveness parables: the barren fig tree (Lk 13:6-9); the bent over woman (Lk 13:10-13); the lost sheep (Lk 15:4-7); the lost coin (Lk15:8-10); and the greatest forgiveness parable of all, the prodigal son (Lk 15:11-32).
Jesus was extremely kind and merciful in the way that he forgave those who sinned against others. After the Roman soldiers had scourged and nailed him, Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them” (Lk 23:34).
5. Be Reconciled
6. Dealing with Sin in the Church
7. Honor Your Parents
For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother.’ Matthew 15:4
This is the fifth commandment in the Old Testament.
In our youth we are called to honor our parents through obedience, as young adults we are called to honor our parents through recognizing their wisdom and in our parents elderly years we are called to honor them by being there for them and treating them with kindness and caring.
8. Honor Marriage
So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” Matthew 19:6
Total commitment and total faithfulness are essential in honoring marriage. Be faithful to the person you marry.
I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” Matthew 19:9