Love of the Brethren

People are watching.

Hebrews 13:1-6
Let love of the brethren continue. 2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. 3 Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body. 4 Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge. 5 Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” 6 so that we confidently say,

“The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid.
What will man do to me?”

One of the interesting things I learned in missions school is that the world is intently watching Christians to see how we will respond to outside stimuli.  Our director told us that in Thailand, it is socially unacceptable if a Christian drinks alcohol.  While the majority of Thai Christians drink and get drunk on a regular basis, their society judges missionaries a bit differently and even one swig could completely destroy the weight of their ministry.  Sounds a bit hypocritical, doesn’t it?  But what is more important – having a few drinks or being able to connect on a deep level with someone in order to tell them about the glory of God?

Throughout the scriptures whenever there tends to be a list of rules (we just read about how we should live and why), it is ended with a caveat of brotherly love.  Jesus taught us that this is THE most important aspect of our lives and therefore we should work hard to cultivate and maintain it.  In John 13 Jesus told His disciples:

34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

The Apostle Paul, in “the love chapter” of 1 Corinthians 13 explains that we could perform miracles and have all these seemingly “magic powers” (ie gifts of the spirit), but if we don’t have love, then they are worthless.  I posted a simple question yesterday in a Facebook forum and it turned into a back and forth accusation match based on theological preference.  Ladies and gentlemen, it doesn’t matter how much you know about the doctrines within and throughout the bible, if you don’t exercise the doctrine of love, you might as well keep it all to yourself because you are doing more harm than good.

The short statements in this paragraph are examples for us to remember of how we are to maintain the love of the brethren.  Show hospitality to strangers, kindness to prisoners, honor marriage, do not love money, trust in God.  If we would start with these 5 simple yet occasionally impossible things, the world would know more of who God is because of our behavior.  Which of these can you exemplify more today?

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