Test # 10 Love of the Brethren
1 John 3:14 – 18
We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.
Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.
But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?
Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
Sometimes I think if I study the Word more and more, it is proof of my passing from death into life. Or if I seek out the lost, or pursue a holy life or provide for my family, or…. All these things God calls us to, and more, but this particular test John gives is simple.
Love for the brethren, our brothers and sisters in the Lord.
It is so easy, at least for me, to cry and whine about the believers I know, but that is such a sinful attitude. I need to serve them, love them, seek their good above my own.
And there is the rub.
If I were to give all my money or time to a brother, in need, would that be loving him?
I have come to realize that giving can be a complex problem, where supplying funds, or efforts, or counsel can just as likely backfire as do well. How can we know when a gift initially considered, will not simply enable a sinful decision.
Is this our place to discern? We are called to love the brethren, and love does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
To truly love the brethren is not to simply be polite, or nice. Note that the Word defines love as kind. (see 1 Corinthians 13:4) Nice is not in the definition! It is in France. (Sorry bout that – couldn’t resit a dad joke!)
To be kind in a difficult situation is to speak truth gently, to find the best method to address a wrong attitude or action in a brother. To be nice is to pat him on the back, give him a hug and tell him everything will be alright. We are not called to be nice. That is a false caricature of the true believer.
To love a brother is to “not insist on your own way”. (again check out 1 Corinthians 13:5) Oh no…. how can I know I helped a brother if I am to allow for alternate ways for a brother.
This is too much for me.
OK, so to help a brother must result in my brother accepting my counsel. Not so fast Carl!
I need humility to truly love a brother, and this humility comes from Him. If I am to love a brother, I need to exercise humility in our discussion, or in my gifting, directing the brother to Him. If my brother finds assistance in knowing Him, I am truly loving my brother. If I am seeking only to make another Carl – golly – that is just a waste of time!
Like I said at the beginning – this test is simple. I did not say it was easy.
To love a brother is to get out of the way, but I just don’t want to sometimes. But alas – that is what is needed!
And that is the test John is speaking of here.
I hope you found a truth that was helpful in your life within this post. Drop me a line, or send this post to a friend that you thought of recently.