On multiple occasions, while in conversation with a senior pastor about a staff member, I’ve been told, “You don’t have to love the people you work with.” Sometimes, the declaration was, “You don’t have to love the people who work for you.” These statements tend to follow a lengthy conversation concerning how the senior pastor is angry with a staff member or is at odds with a staff member after some situation played out. I wonder…Does a senior pastor have to love the staff they lead, or are the staff they lead simply co-workers, underlings on the flow chart with a job to do and so the responsibility of the senior pastor is simply to make sure these employees get their work done? With this mindset, there is no relational responsibility.
The New Testament is pretty straight up when it comes to this loving one another thing.
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. John 13:34
By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:35
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:10
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. Romans 13:8
You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. Galatians 5:13
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Hebrews 10:24
Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. 1 Peter 1:22
Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. 1 Peter 3:8
Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ. 1 Peter 5:14
This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 1 John 3:11
And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 1 John 3:23
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 1 John 4:7