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Exercise Christ Love

Today the earth is populated with eight to ten billion people most of who are attempting to rule their part of the world without God. Perhaps this may be the reason for the proverb, too many chiefs and not enough Indians. Usually, when you hear this phrase, everyone has the same job to do, but no one can agree on the way the work is done.  Then someone realizes that the work has to be done and does the job while the rest of the group argues over who does the job. The majority was not concerned about their fellow worker, but in whoís responsible and when they will do the job.

Today people are interested in appearances and their standing with their fellow man. However that is not what brotherly kindness is all about. Some say Peterís argument for brotherly kindness is a progressive method to develop the kind of love that comes from the heart.  Kindness is an act done for the wellbeing of another person especially when they are in need. Still, brotherly kindness is a form of love developed with those that you associate with on a regular basis.

After the hurricane Katrina, people saw the kindness of American individuals who went to the area of devastation with food, water and the desire to help anyone in any way they could. The victims of Katrina lost their lifeís work, were hungry, or needed rescued were grateful for those who cared about their wellbeing. This was a form of brotherly kindness even though extended to complete strangers, they were still fellow Americans.

Brotherly kindness can be as simple as showing your concern over the death of a family member of your brethren. Your sympathy shows a common bond you had with the deceased and you share in that loss with them. When you console the immediate family youíre attempting to ease the sorrow involved with death? Itís time like this that you hear these words, ďCall me anytime day or night if you need help.Ē Being kind brings out the humanity of mankind and the importance of relationships. The outcome of your kindness demonstrates your concern over the wellbeing of another person, which is very much appreciated by those in need.

Brotherly kindness can be as simple as taking time to listen to a friend talk about the troubles they are facing. You may not say a thing, but do nothing more than listen to them talk out his or her problem. You may visit them on their sick bed or see them behind bars to let them know that you are concerned about them. You may take flowers or cookies to lift up their spirits while letting them know they are important to you. Being there tells them youíre a friend, you are important to me and I am here to help you in your time of need.

 Most Greek scholars define brotherly love as love for the brethren because of its fraternal nature. A fraternity is a body of people who have a common purpose or interest whether it is groups of people found in college dorms, police departments, or those who have chosen to serve God. In the assembly of these organizations the members become brothers and sisters of a common cause and share in activities that benefit common goals.

In the church, we share a common affiliation within the kingdom of God and belong to the body of Christ. Jesus Christ is the leader of this body comprised of believers who have been commanded to make disciples and teach the laws of Godís kingdom. The fellowship of believerís shares similar interests, ideals, or experiences because of our beliefs. Within the church our associates are brothers and sisters who share common interests and ideals that benefit the kingdom of God.

Brotherly kindness is the practice of demonstrating Godís love among the believers and enables the church to bond into a family unit. You and your fellow believers throughout the world are enduring the same kind of sufferings because of their relationship to Christ. It is the practice of encouraging one another that enables the church as a whole to stand under the trial.

God has commanded the church to be of one accord. Brotherly kindness enables the church to form alliances based on love for one another. Being devoted to one another in love and honoring one another above yourself, bonds the church into a house that will not fall in the storm.   The words of the contemporary song ďbind us together with cords that cannot be broken, bind us together with cords of loveĒ illustrate the purpose of brotherly love.

We are enjoined to share in the blood of Christ, to bear the cross of Christ, and endure the common temptations all men have.  Through brotherly love, God enables all of us to endure hardships beyond the normal scope of human endurance and come out stronger because of the trial. The kindness the brothers and sisters make it possible to go through the ordeal in the power of God knowing that God and your brothers in Christ love you.  

Recently in our church a member had a brain tumor that nearly took the members life. During the trial the spouse took time off from work to be close to their mate. The medical bills were close to being exhausting their insurance and the debts of maintaining a home began to mount. The Church gave generously to this couple in their time of need that helped them to pay their bills and keep their home.  Brotherly kindness met their needs because of the brotherly love of a body of believers that loved them in the power of Godís love.

Consider the role of brotherly kindness to a body of believers. God wants you to make everyone a person of importance while you reduce yourself into a servant.

Brotherly kindness is serving one another in the love of God because before anyone can serve the world, one must learn to serve one another.

It is a kindness to forbear and forgive the grudges that are held against others. Most Christians would not knowingly offend his or her brother or sister. Forgiving your brother has a remarkable outcome in that forgiveness forms a closer relationship to each other. Love does unify the church into a body of believers that clings together in peace.    

In the New Testament, and among Christians, brotherly love came to mean affection between fellow-believers, including sympathetic concern for others and the care of those in need. Christians also use the term brotherly love to speak of the love and affection for fellow Christians similar to the love brothers and sisters share with each other.

Itís not too often one would have to give the shirt off his back to a stranger, but for a brother you would.  How can the love of God be in you if you cannot love someone you know, especially if you are related to them? Brotherly love is the concern over the wellbeing of those in your sphere of influence and more so within the family of God. 

Love is a chosen way to display your concern over the wellbeing of other people. People with the inborn nature of love show their concern for others in many ways. A small percentage of people never depart from this life without needing sympathy at one time in their life. Everyone suffers the loss of a loved one, sees poverty, becomes sick and falls into the pit of despair. Brotherly kindness is the lifter of the spirit and the knowledge that you will not go through the trial alone. It is the attitude that I can help my brother when he is in need while being thankful to God that made it possible to love from the abundance God has given me.

I have been told that brotherly kindness is the kind of love given to those you know and who return your love. To the scholar who would argue that there is a difference between brotherly Love (Philadelphia) and agape love I will say they are right. Is there a reason for arguing? However, I would contest that the kind of love you have for a brother has to be different kind of love before God.  In the example above, John uses the word agapao to explain the kind of love God expects given to him but it is also the same kind of love we should give our brothers in Christ.

As far as I am concerned I am a brother to the rest of humanity. In addition God has commanded each of us to love one another without respect of nationality, sex, race, color or belief. Having to give my brothers a different kind of love than I give to God would show partiality. 

Right about now, you may be asking me who is my brother? Jesus did not say that your neighbor had to be someone you know, a blood relative, or a respected member of society. Jesus used the racial bigotry the priests had for all Samaritans to solidify his point. The man left for dead along the road may have told the good Samaritan to go fly a kite if he wasnít in danger of losing his life. There was no love lost between the Samaritans and the Jews even when the law demanded you to love your enemies. Jesus was of the opinion that the victim left for dead was your neighbor.

Brotherly kindness is the love of God shared among your brothers in your sphere of influence. Love is a matter of choice in every kind of relationship that shows a concern for the wellbeing of others like you. While we can go to great lengths to explain the difference between love and brotherly love we have a universal law from God to love (agape) one another. The same Agape love applies to your brothers and sisters in Christ.

It is not often that you see or even hear of people in dire straits who are willing to hand over their children to complete strangers so they may live. During the rescue effort of hurricane Katrina in New Orleans the news media reported an event of this kind. It seems that a full rescue boat came across parents standing in five feet of water with a strong possibility of losing their lives. Before the boat left to come back the parents placed their child in the boat to insure its survival.

The bible tells a story of two prostitutes went to King Solomon asking him to settle a dispute over a surviving infant. Both prostitutes said the living one is my son; the dead one is hers."  The king responded, "Cut the boy in two giving each half." The real mother was deeply moved by love for her son and said give her the baby! But the other said, Cut him in two!" Then the king gave his ruling: "Give the baby to its mother who only wanted the child to live. In this story about motherly love, the mother preferred to give her son to another in order that her son may live.  (read the story 1 Kings 3)

The disciples at this time did not fully understand what it meant to lay their life down for another. The very nature of man is selfish, but his desire to survive outweighs all of his possessions and the lives of other people. Being truthful, there are times when accidents happen that you were grateful you were not the one who died. Most men consider life as the most precious thing that God has ever given to man and next to life where we will spend eternity.  However, laying down one's life for anyone is not on manís list of favorite things to do. 

Being the Disciples of Christ require you to give the most precious gift back to God, your own life. What on earth did Christ mean by denying and losing your life for Christís sake? Your life is a gift that God wants to use to love the people in the world and to show them that he desires to reconcile them to God. God demands that you,

These laws demand that your hopes, desires and lifeís outcome can only be accomplished when you have fulfilled the law. This also means that the needs of others have to come first, but it means you have to deny and lose your own life to help others live.

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