I have two brothers, and I also have two sons. “Brotherly affection” isn’t always sunshine and daisies! At times they mercilessly tease each other and argue over the most inconsequential things, but can quickly become a united front against a perceived threat. They are both secure members of the family, and are anchored by no-matter-what love.
Could this be what Peter was talking about when he instructed us to supplement our faith with brotherly affection (2 Peter 1:7)? He also writes in 1 Peter 1:22: “You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart.” (NLT)
Hmm. What does Paul have to say about this?
“Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.” (Romans 12:10) Somehow when I think of brothers, delight in honoring each other is not the first thing that comes to mind.
Maybe another example might shed some light. Paul writes in Hebrews 13:1, “Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters.” I’m pretty sure “keep on” means don’t ever stop!
Thayer’s Greek Lexicon defines this idea as used in the New Testament as “the love which Christians cherish for each other as ‘brethren’.”
Together with other believers, we are children of God. We are sinners saved by grace, and know that our salvation rests in Christ alone. Nothing we can do will save us any more than we have already been saved! We know that we are loved in spite of all of our failures and mistakes.
We also know that the same things are true for our brothers and sisters in Christ. Knowing that our fellow believers are cherished by our Heavenly Father just as we are should make an impact on our affection for them.
Yes, we are human, and we will get into squabbles with one another. Family can be a messy business. But whatever we may disagree about, the issue should never eclipse our affection for one another. Look back–none of the verses listed above offered this concept as a mere suggestion!
How do you feel about your Christian family? Are you happy to see them whenever you get together? What a blessing to have a family that stretches around the world!
On the other hand, are there a few brothers and sisters you have a difficult time cherishing? If so, pray for them as you pray for God to fill your heart with love for them. Then watch and see what He does!
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