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There are approximately 30 distinct one-anothers spread throughout over 50 separate scriptural commands in the New Testament. I want to make two points about the often-discussed one-anothers. First, they are commands. These are not optional suggestions that we get to pick and choose our way through, ignoring the ones that make us uncomfortable. These are commands from God’s Word given to you and me as means of grace within

I hate being tricked. Telemarketers using the guise of “surveys” doubly annoy me, magic tricks make my brain hurt, and scam artists make my blood boil. Unfortunately, my heart is the best deceiver I know. When it comes to hearing, I’m concerned that I share a weakness to deception with all the rest of you. I can hear, and hear, and hear, and still not do. In James 1:22-25, James probingly moves on from the right attitudes in hearing to the right actions.

We do a lot of listening. It’s an integral part of our Christian lives to listen to sermons, as well as to other Christians speaking into our lives personally. So it’s also a constant challenge to actually hear the way God intends us to. In this crucial discipline of hearing, God has not left us without instruction. James 1:19-25 continues to shape my thinking about how I hear, and I’d like to encourage you to consider it too.

Recently, I sat down in anticipation of the opening ceremonies of the World Cup. I felt particularly excited this year. Certainly the history of the Republic of South Africa played a part in the drama. After emerging from segregation and apartheid, the nation had much to celebrate. Former President Nelson Mandela was continually thanked and praised for uniting his nation. While national pride of fans from around the world was evident, there was a clear emphasis on the celebration of peace and global unity. The crowd danced, sang, and waved flags in support of this message of unity, freedom and peace.