Hebrews 13:1 is made up of only four words, but those four words send a strong message: “Let brotherly love continue.” Perhaps you have heard someone jokingly misquote the verse to read, “Let brotherly love begin.” It is true that brotherly love must begin to exist before it can “continue,” but in reality, the absence of such love is no joking matter.
Is it not a huge plus for the Lord’s Cause when His people have a genuine brotherly love among themselves? The love and care that Christians have for one another is a powerful force in the world. Even those who are not disciples of Jesus notice, respect, and in some cases are attracted by the genuine love that saints show for one another. Here are a few plusses or positive things that take place when brotherly love continues to abound among the members of God’s church.
Brotherly love sends a message. Jesus said, “By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another” (John 13:35).
Brotherly love hides a multitude of sins. “And above all things have fervent love for one another, for ‘love will cover a multitude of sins’” (1 Peter 4:8).
Brotherly love takes action, rather than just sitting on the sideline or just talking and making suggestions about what should be done. “But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:17,18).
Brotherly love helps provide a healthy atmosphere in which to grow spiritually and worship together because love “is kind, love does not envy, love does not parade itself, is not puffed up” (1 Corinthians 13:4).
Brotherly love presents an attractive picture to small kids and youth that observe it, including our own children and grandchildren. How can brotherly love not make a good impression on them when it can be said honestly that “the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other?” (2 Thessalonians 1:3).
Brotherly love binds Christians together. Since we, as members of the church, have the same Father, we are one family in the Christ (Galatians 3:26,27). That means because we are “kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love” (Romans 12:10), we hurt when our spiritual family members hurt, we share in their joys, and we seek to comfort one another during times of disappointment or grief (Romans 12:15; 1 Thessalonians 4:18).
Brotherly love causes us to be determined to handle personal conflicts properly – in the way that the Lord instructs us. Jesus says for us to “go and tell” the brother that has offended us (Matthew 18:15-17). Brotherly love motivates us to do just that.
Brotherly love reminds us of just how wonderful heaven will be. “Night and day praying exceedingly that we may see your face . . .” (1 Thessalonians 3:10). Just as the apostle Paul longed to see his brethren in this life, so we look forward to being reunited with the saints of God in heaven, where we will worship Him forever and never again be separated from our faithful brothers and sisters in the Lord. Surely every disciple of Jesus enjoys being on thereceiving end of brotherly love. But are you and I also on the giving side of such love? Do we really demonstrate genuine love toward our brethren in the Christ? Beloved, “Let brotherly love continue.” It pays huge dividends. As the old song says, “Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love.” I am so thankful that my life is blessed by brothers and sisters who demonstrate brotherly love.
~ Roger D. Campbell ~