BROTHERLY LOVE

Scripture Reading: I Thessalonians 4:9-12

“But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may live properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.” (I Thessalonians 4:10b-12)

This passage begins with these words — “Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another” (v. 9). God has made it abundantly clear that we are to love one another. Unfortunately, there is a huge lack of love both inside the church and outside of it. The second great commandment is that we love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Paul is calling us to do this more and more.

We are given some very practical advice about the application of brotherly love. We are told to live quietly, that is, peaceably — “If it be possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men” (Romans 12:18). It is amazing how much conflict exists between people in the church. Failing to be at peace with one another is a failure to exercise brotherly love.

We are also told to mind our own business. Some people are known to be gossipers. They pass on information. which may or may not be true, to others, for their own benefit. They stick their noses in other people’s business when they have no right to do so. This too is a failure to exercise brotherly love.

We must also work with our own hands and not be dependent upon others to provide for our needs. I’ve seen people in the church and outside the church expect handouts, special favors, discounts, and the like. Some take advantage of the generosity of others. Again, such actions reflect a failure to exercise brotherly love.

Those outside the church observe how we treat each other in the church. Unfortunately, they often see a failure of exercising brotherly love among believers. This is a poor witness. Remember the words of Jesus in the High Priestly Prayer — “I made known to them Your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which You have loved Me may be in them, and I in them” (John 17:26). We have the love of Jesus in us. We must learn how to appropriate it in order to love others, especially the hard people to love.

Lord Jesus, I confess that there are some people I have trouble loving. Forgive me for failing to love others. Grant me the strength and the desire to love others with the love You have for me.

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