It is absolutely natural to “watch out for and care for” those you love: family and friends. But recently while studying a very familiar verse I discovered an assignment that ALL of us have been given.
“Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.” (Heb. 12:15)
The first four words, look after each other, are an assignment for each believer. We are instructed to “give attention and take care” of each other. This assignment can also be described as “shepherding” one another. Why do we need to look out for one another? Each of us has times in our life when we are vulnerable to bitterness; when our faith is outrun by our suffering. Suffering without encouragement is soul soil that a poisonous root can begin to burrow into our heart.
It has always felt like and oxymoron to use the terms “bitter” and “Christian in the same sentence. But as I thought about some of the bitter Christians I know, I began to consider the possible neglect that resulted in their bitter condition. I have wondered where were the Christians who neglected their assignment to “look after each other.” We as Christians are to bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ (Gal. 6:1-2). Another aspect of this assignment is that my neglect of watching out for my Christian siblings, not only harms my sibling but also will harm me inevitably, bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.” How ironic, when I am too busy to “look after each other,” this neglect of my spiritual siblings is actually self-harming. Our spiritual life is not only our responsibility but also the responsibility of our big forever family. In this New Year, “Don’t forget to ‘look after each other’ because; we are family!”