Conversations are a normal part of everyday life; they are the basic means of communication between individuals. Constantly, everyone participates in them. They can be interesting, informative, ordinary, and on occasion, boring; but they are necessary.
Recently, in an ordinary conversation with a group of friends when nothing of great importance was being discussed, I noted something that is quite common. One member of the group repeated the phrase “one another” over and over again, and the frequent use of that phrase caught my attention.
“One another” is a common phrase that is often used in everyday conversation. It indicates a reciprocal relationship or reciprocal action among the members of the group referred to by an antecedent. Thinking of the conversation in which I participated and the meaning of the phrase, I recalled another insightful experience that I had.
On one occasion, I was reading the New Testament when I came upon a statement that caught my attention: “Encourage one another and build one another up.” At once, I realized that the passage contained, and was constructed around, that common phrase of everyday speech “one another.”
With my interest piqued, I began to look for other passages in which that phrase was used. To my amazement, I found a number of passages that contained it, and I made some notes for future use. Here are four more short, but powerful, statements that I found during that quiet moment of reflection:
“Consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.”
“Outdo one another in showing honor.”
“Love one another with brotherly affection.”
“Through love be servants of one another.”
When I looked back at those notes, I was amazed at what I saw. From the local community to the international scene, trouble results from bad human relationships. There is trouble between persons, and there is trouble between nations. In those notes, I saw a simple, but practical, formula for living that, when practiced, will produce better relationships and, thereby, a better society.