Loving Your Fellow Brethren
"I'm giving you a new commandment: Love each other in the same way that I have loved you” (John 13:34 GWT). Also,
"Pay your debts as they come due. However, one debt you can never finish paying is the debt of love that you owe each other. The one who loves another person has fulfilled Moses' Teachings" (Romans 13:8 GWT).
Dear Brethren, this is a follow up article from the previous week’s article, God’s Word Edifies And Builds Up. We are using a different heading because we want to draw attention to ‘Love’ since this should be the force behind every Christian’s interaction with others whether Christian or non-Christians (1 Corinthians 16:14). God's love is indiscriminate, pure and full of mercy for sinners and we should contain the same kind of spirit. By becoming a Christian through believing faith, or when a person becomes born again (repenting of past sins) by accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, he or she renounces past sins and takes a vow to follow and obey the Lord Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17; John 14:21-23). In other words, as a Christian we should transition or transform through scriptural teachings and guidance from our old way of life to the new way of life (Romans 12:2).
The Fruits Of A Transformed Life
As we know, this new and transformed life is best achieved if we willingly submit to the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ and the scriptures (1 Peter 5:2; Ephesians 6:7). In previous articles, we emphasised that transformation into a good and fruitful Christian life does not happen through mere talk or a sense of magical imagination, NO! Instead, we change through a deliberate and a willing submissive attitude into the new life in Christ and as we yield through patience and perseverance, the Lord adds the fruit of our obedience (John 15:1-2) showing off our readiness to serve others (Ephesians 4:12).
What are these fruits of obedience? “... do all you can to add to your life these things: to your faith add goodness; to your goodness add knowledge; to your knowledge add self-control; to your self-control add patience; to your patience add devotion to God; to your devotion add kindness toward your brothers and sisters in Christ, and to this kindness add love. If all these things are in you and growing, you will never fail to be useful to God. You will produce the kind of fruit that should come from your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:5-8 ERV).
In addition to these precious virtues the apostle Paul showed us the most excellent way, love and its ingredients often read and liked but in short supply in Christians. Let us remind ourselves again that “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. Love is not rude, it is not selfish, and it cannot be made angry easily. Love does not remember wrongs done against it. Love is never happy when others do wrong, but it is always happy with the truth. Love never gives up on people. It never stops trusting, never loses hope, and never quits. Love will never end” (1 Corinthians 13:5-8 ERV).
Being Tolerant And Forgiving From The Heart
Now, having added the above as the most basic Christian attitude there should be no utterances to our fellow brothers or sisters such as, ‘we are not afraid of you’. By so saying, are we not saying that we are not bound by the principles of love as discussed above? Is this not carnal talk aimed at divisions and showing off superiority? Now besides love that should govern our relationship with others, some Christians simply don’t have a spirit of tolerance (Colossians 3:13-14). In their zeal to humiliate their fellow brother or sister, they expect their fellow brethren to be perfect and sinless. It is as if they were just waiting for the slightest mistake to attack.
As a matter of fact, some Christians are very judgmental forgetting that their fellow brethren were sinners before they came to the Lord and that they are still a work in progress (1 Thessalonians 5:14), and in order to continue the work of God in people who are a bit weaker we should learn to forgive, encourage, correct and help our brothers when they have stumbled (1 Corinthians 8:11-12). Some few years ago, we had a sister in our Ministry who fell into the sin of fornication and when we asked the Lord how to deal with her situation since she confided in us and confessed to us. He knew her heart and that she had genuinely repented before Him, so the Lord said He forgave her and that she was welcome to continue in her service to Him (John 8:11).
Additionally, we had a young brother in our ministry who just did not grow up in his faith, in fact he sinned at will, but the Lord loved him and was very patient with him, as much as his disobedience frustrated us, the Lord commanded us to encourage him and not to condemn him to destroy his faith in the Lord. Similarly, we once asked the Lord a word on behalf of a brother who shared with us his frustration with his brother for neglecting his spiritual life and being a burden to others. In His reply, the Lord graciously encouraged the brother to pray for his brother and to encourage him in the Lord instead of looking at his failures and criticize him.
Finally, if you have been in the habit of destroying the faith and confidence of your brother or sister in the Lord, repent my friend for God will use the measure you used to discourage others from following Him as the sole Judge (Matthew 7:2). If we forgive and act mercifully towards others, the same will be given to us (Matthew 18:26-35). We are thus all servants and no one should treat others disrespectfully or shamefully just because you either support their ministry or family.
As always, we would like to extend an invitation to anyone who does not know the Lord Jesus Christ yet, or of you are not born again, to pray our suggested prayer on this link Prayer of Sincere Repentance by faith and follow the Lord (Matthew 4:19). You may also contact us for any questions or comments about this article or our ministry.