What Not To Do To “One Another” Even As We Bear Each Other’s Burdens

Right after Paul tells us to “serve one another in love” in Galatians 5:13, he shares something that he often does in his Spirit inspired words…he exhorts and admonishes us in the negative – what not to do or stop doing.

Look at Galatians 5:15 and he gives us a negative “one another” command, “If you keep on biting and devouring each other…you will be destroyed by each other.” 
But I thought Christians always serve, share with and give to one another in love. Obviously he needed to address the issues of pride, selfishness and anger that still reside in our flesh even after we come to know Christ.

Which “person” are you feeding? Are you following through with the serving and loving “one anothers” of The Spirit…or do you need to hear the disciplinary and corrective “one another” to stop back-stabbing, snipping at and destroying one another?

I suspect that we need both or The Holy Spirit would not have inspired Paul to share this with us as believers. I know I’ve had to learn to grow in both serving and loving as well as letting go of my own selfish desires and glory, not trying to drag others down to my level.

This is why forgiveness is so important (Matthew 6:14-15), both forgiving others when they have wronged us and seeking forgiveness when we have wronged others!

Verse 16 tells us how to follow through by choosing The Spirit rather than our flesh! Let’s be sure that we’re not allowing our petty, fleshly desires to drive us to pick at and try and bring down others but rather choose to lift them up in The Spirit…no matter who they are or what they’ve done!

Evidently there was and is a need for us as believers to be reminded of things we shouldn’t do to “one another.” Building on his exhorting us to not bite, devour and destroy one another, Paul continues in Galatians 5:24-26, as The Holy Spirit reminds us, “Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” OUCH! Surely we Christians never do this and especially never to one another?!?

Remember that Galatians, and especially chapter 5 is about the contrast between the flesh and The Spirit, the outcomes of each and the choice that we have as believers in Christ to choose The Spirit over the flesh. In this “one another” we find the need for The Holy Spirit through Paul to remind us what it looks like when we choose the flesh, become conceited, and the fruit of provocation and envy in our lives and relationships…clearly fruit of the flesh.

Instead we are to choose, as Paul tells us in v. 13 which we shared a few days ago, to “serve one another in love.” This is the choice in The Spirit!

Which choices are you making with “one another?” What does the fruit in your life reveal about those choices?

So after telling us to serve one another in love, stop biting and devouring each other, and to not become prideful, provoking and becoming envious, Paul closes out his “one anothers” in Galatians 6:2 with this wonderful reminder of love…”Carry each other’s burdens…”

May each of us be willing to reach out and lift the burdens of others through serving, giving, prayer and encouragement… however we are able and given opportunity and access to do so let us follow through. Part of this burden bearing is reaching out to help restore those who’ve sinned while also being very careful that we don’t become prideful and fall into sin.

I pray that we would cast all our burdens on you because you care for us (1 Peter 5:7) and then look to you to show us what burdens you want us to help carry for others in your love for all of us and through us to one another.

Love and Lordship…Food for Thought – What do you need to stop doing to others in loving obedience to Your Savior and Lord? What burdens do you need to help carry for another today? What burdens do you need carried for you? Let us be willing to bear one another’s burdens and allow others to carry ours as needed and do so in love to honor Christ and build His Body.

Love and Lordship…Action Item(s)

  1. Spend time with Him in His Word and prayer daily – read and study the Scriptures in this post as a way to start.
  2. Ask The Holy Spirit to teach you.
  3. In what areas do you need to work on to “stop” tearing down others?
  4. In what ways can you carry the burdens of others?

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Heavenly Father, even though I don’t always like these “one another” admonitions, I need them to remind me of Your Love and how you love us in spite of our failures, flaws, and selfishness. Check me whenever I’m tempted to lash out at others and help me choose to carry their burdens when I can and serve them in love. In Jesus Name. Amen.