How does the bible tell us to treat ONE ANOTHER? ARE WE DOING ENOUGH?

When COVID hit and the quarantine began, I thought our son, Josiah, could not be more pleased.  Not about people getting sick from the virus, nor the tragic loss of life, of course. I thought he would be thrilled by the decrease in homework, an increase in free time for videogames, and limitations on social interaction.  He is 16, very bright, and kindhearted. Yet, compared to the rest of us in the family, he is the most introverted.

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We have tried using the increased time as a family wisely.  As a family, we played board games and brainstormed movies we were hoping to view. We even downloaded an app to help us decide what to watch!  We shared ideas, tried new recipes, and laughed A LOT.  But what we really needed to do was soak up some Vitamin D and get outside.

One day, about two weeks into quarantine, Josiah asked if he and I could hike each morning.  We live in a beautiful community with a plethora of hiking trails and beautiful scenery. Yet despite the beauty around him, he had never shown any interest before.  I jumped at the chance.  We traversed a peak near our home every day for a few months. The two of us had fun talking, listening to podcasts, or enjoying good music as we hiked.  We had some wonderful conversations – about current affairs, the state of the political landscape in our country, and faith.

I recently did a study of the “one another” verses in the New Testament – like “love one another”, “spur one another on toward love and good deeds”, and “admonish one another”.  There are over 50 and each forges a path for biblical community. It shows us how to practically live in peace with one another.  Josiah and I would often discuss these “one another” verses and how we needed to better practice each one.

But the “one anothers” was not the only thing I taught Josiah on our adventures. Hiking is interesting. So to prepare for them, I also taught our son the “H’s of trail etiquette” taught to me:

  1. Hierarchy – Horses, Hikers, and Bikers – the hierarchy on the trail.  When traveling, horses and their riders have first priority, then hikers, than those riding bikes.  Others should step to the side, downhill side, if at all possible.
  2. Hill – uphill traffic has the right of way.  It is harder to change pace and maneuver when going uphill, so those traveling downhill should act accordingly and yield.
  3. Hand – Stay to the right, pass on the left when hiking with others going at a different pace.
  4. Halt – Leave no trace – leave no trash on the trail, nor footprints off the trail.
  5. Honor – Honor others by keeping the use of tech to a minimum; people are out in nature for a reason. 
  6. Heart – Have fun and be kind to others.

As we navigate the terrain of unrest, discord, and disunity in our communities and our nation, I cannot help but think that the rules of engagement on the trails might serve us well in our homes, on our social media, and in our interactions with others and help us live the “one anothers” more fully:.

  1. Hierarchy – We should always look for ways to serve others.  We should follow the example of Jesus and put the interests of others before our own (Philippians 2:1-11).
  2. Hill – We should be aware of those who are struggling right now. We need to do all we can to encourage people in their season of unemployment, distress, hurt, and loss (Galatians 6:2).
  3. Hand – Do what is right.  Be in God’s Word.  Share the love of God with others (Hebrews 10:23-25).
  4. Halt – be a light, salt, and fragrance, and leave the world better than how you found it (Matthew 5:14-16).
  5. Honor others – Connection on technology is good, but never underestimate the power of a phone call, a letter, a meal, or even a hug (remember hugs?) (1 Peter 4:8-10).
  6. Heart – We should look for new ways to show kindness, grace, and love and ask the Holy Spirit to guide us in that process (Colossians 3:16).

My prayer is that the Holy Spirit would encourage us, through the study of His Word, to be more like Jesus and to love others well.  As we “trek” through this life, may we keep these rules of etiquette in mind and our eyes on Jesus, so that the trails on which we tread point others to God.

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