Written by Grace Mwaura on May 29, 2023
The New Testament is full of references to brotherly love. In many places where the apostles expound on Christian living within the church, this phrase ‘brotherly love’ surfaces. Paul, the apostle, explained the nature of brotherly love when he wrote to the members of the church in Thessalonica, “But we do not need to write to you about the importance of loving each other for you, for God himself has taught you to love one another(1 Thessalonians 4:9) Hebrews 13:1 requests the continuation of this kind of love for believers. Brotherly love, therefore, is seeking the best interest of fellow believers and counting them as more significant than oneself. The phrase ‘Brotherly Love’ comes from the word ‘Philia,’ which means love or love of brothers in Greek philosophy. This brotherly affection differentiated the Early Christian churches from other groups during their time. The type of love mentioned in the bible means loving our brothers in Christ with selfless desires and humility. True brotherly love is not self-centered but sacrificial.
The term brother may refer to anyone like our neighbors, yet the contact of the brotherly love given emphasis here is our love for our fellow believers. Once we decide to follow Jesus, it will be impossible to continue our faith journey without being part of God’s family. A family remains a family whatever happens because of the blood that connects them. This is the same with our family in Christ. Jesus, our elder brother, holds us with an indestructible bond that unites us with him and his people. Love seasons and strengthens this connection.
Since we are one in Christ Jesus, how do we show brotherly love.? Expressing love to another takes various forms. When we begin to understand the significance of this kind of love as a commandment and privilege through Jesus Christ, it will be less challenging to find the eagerness to show it to others. In Romans 14, Apostle Paul gave specific instructions on how to treat each believer and how to think of each other. His first advice was about embracing a brother and sister in Christ who has weaker faith without passing judgment. If we start to judge our fellow believers, there will never be enough room for love to abide. Judgment and love cannot exist on the same ground. He wrote that neither of us is fitting to judge others, for we are all servants of one master who calls us in love to love. Apostle Paul’s other instruction was concerning making fellow believers stumble. His warning was clear, not to destroy the work of God and our relationship with one another for the sake of food and other futile reasons. Our love should be steady, filled with unselfish compassion, having an attitude of sharing and keeping unity.
Brotherly love does for us things more than what we do for the sake of it. When we give love, share, forgive, demonstrate humility, or encourage, we have the confidence to receive the same from others. We are in a world that struggles to show or share brotherly love. We are hesitant to be vulnerable even with fellow believers because we fear getting hurt. We should strive to recognize God’s love as the only true power and to let that love guide our thoughts and action as we interact with those around us. It takes a humble willingness to have our thoughts redirected by God as we interact with the world today. Above these things, brotherly love points to God, the sole reason for our affection and being. May Christ help us to show love to our brothers.