Galatians 5:14 is such a central verse for me, because it points to the central teaching of Jesus – that the greatest commandment is to love God and love your neighbor as yourself. A commenter on the instagram source for this image pointed out the following verse: If, however, you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another. To me, this seems like common sense. If you want to love your neighbor, you have to not attack them, you can’t try to consume or destroy them in any way. I’ve been challenged on that conclusion, though: if you love your neighbor, wouldn’t you tell them when they’re wrong? Wouldn’t you attack them if they weren’t doing or believing or thinking the right things? It’s true that we should hold each other accountable: as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. And sharpening a blade means removing that which contributes to dullness. While it’s true that we should hold each other accountable, we shouldn’t bite at each other, we shouldn’t devour one another – it should be a terrible, painful, saddening thing to have to hold someone else accountable. And it should be done with humility and thoughtfulness, not done quickly or out of spite or schadenfreude.
And honestly, I think we are much quicker to condemn the person next to us than to love them, encourage them, and allow them to walk alongside us as fellow members of the Body of Christ. So maybe we should concentrate on practicing love first, and then once we’re better at that, learn how to hold each other more accountable.