Torchbearers for Christ
Wednesday, June 20, 2018
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BROTHERLY LOVE

 
Everyone who claims to be a child of God is acknowledging that he has many, many Christian brothers and sisters. As children in God’s family we have a commitment to brotherly love (Heb. 13:1). The Christian life involves more than a vertical relationship with God. Each of us should have a vital interest in the other’s welfare. My relationship with my brother should always be a good example of encouragement and affirmation, a relationship which will encourage him on his Christian journey, never discourage or disappoint him. It is not a matter of how much I can get out of such a relationship, but how much I can put into it.
 
Brotherly love is not an option; it is essential in our walk with God. Love is not a sentimental feeling; it is putting someone else’s interests ahead of our own (1 Cor. 10:24). I cannot be right with God apart from a right relationship with my brother (1 John 4:20,21). This relationship is not based on his perfection, but on a commitment of love (John 13:34,35, 1 Peter 1:22). Just because my brother “rubs me up the wrong way” is no reason for me to have ill feelings towards him (1 Peter 4:8). Holding a grudge is beneath the dignity of brotherly love.
 
A right relationship with my brother requires that I will not undermine his reputation or carry feelings of resentment and ill-will towards him (Matt. 7:1-5, Eph. 4:31-32). This love also requires that I will minister to his needs (Rom. 15:2, Gal. 5:13, 1 John 3:16-19), being particularly sensitive in times of discouragement, difficulty and pain. I also need to guard the influence exerted by my life (Rom. 14:7,15, 1 Cor. 8:9-13, 10:24), doing nothing that might cause my brother to stumble or to be weakened. Brotherly love also involves my sharing his burdens (Gal. 6:2), praying for him (James 5:16, 1 John 5:16), being an encourager (Heb. 10:25, Rom. 14:19), and restoring him if he should fall (Gal. 6:1). A right relationship with my brother is one of the signs of my having passed from death to life (1 John 3:14,19), as well as being a vital mark of discipleship and a testimony to the world (John 13:34,35).
 
So let us do our best to heed the wise counsel given to us in 1 Peter 4:8: “And above all things have fervent love among yourselves; for love shall cover a multitude of sins”.
 
This article was written by Pastor Geoffrey Davies. He is a frequent contributor to this column. He lives in Melbourne, Australia, where he pastored a church for over twenty-five years.  Since 1983 he has travelled widely, continuing his ministry of encouragement and Bible teaching.