Thursday, February 14, 2013

To Love the Brethren

Happy Valentine's Day!

Relationship status aside, it's a good day to talk about love.

What have you done lately to show your love to the body of Christ?

How much love have you felt lately for your brothers and sisters in Christ?

I got to experience this sort of love in action recently. It was February 2, a Saturday, and some guests were going to be coming in to Club Indigo. I was commissioned to get their rooms ready, so I went to check on the various rooms in question. One just needed the beds made and a general once-over by the cleaning ladies, but the other was in serious need of help. I opened the door and was instantly taken aback by the foul smell. Four full trash cans, some with poopy diapers in them, were in different parts of the room. The floor was smeared with all sorts of unknown filthiness. Toys were piled in the corner and in the closets, and just the touch of them left your hands feeling grimy. Pieces of dismantled cribs were scattered about, and everything had an air of disorder and carelessness about it. The previous occupants of the room were some of our Haitian nannies--wonderful women, but with different standards of cleanliness--and lots of children.

I set to work to clean the room, a song in my heart and a determination in my head to improve it as much as possible. I collected my cleaning supplies and set to work. I gathered up all the toys and removed them, stacked all the crib parts neatly in one place, swept the floor, washed the windows, and took out the trash. But then it came to scrubbing the floor. I had a brand-new mop head, and it was was very nice, but I didn't have the handle for it, so I had to get down on my hands and knees, wring out the mop with my hands, and scrub vigorously. The floor was full of little areas of black stuff stuck on, and I was sweating and breathless by the time I had done half the room. One of the missionaries discovered me at my task and gave me a pair of gloves, for which I was extremely grateful.

As I worked, tirelessly and unceasingly, trying to beat the clock and finish cleaning before the guests' arrival, I asked myself, "Why am I doing this?" I thought of the person who was going to stay in this room, and I knew the answer: It was for love. Not the worldly kind of love, that admires a man and seeks to attract his attention. Not an awkward kind of love, that gazes from afar and wishes hopelessly for a relationship. Not a passionate kind of love, that comes with beating heart and fluttering eyelashes and rosy lips. No--it was the love of the brethren, godly love and esteem for a fellow believer, love that was willing to take action and do something practical and a wee bit difficult for another's sake.

The book of 1 John has a lot to say about loving our brothers and sisters in Christ.

  • "He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him." 2:9
  • "For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another." 3:11
  • "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death." 3:14
  • "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." 3:16
  • "And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment." 3:23
  • "Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God." 4:7
  • "Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another." 4:11
  • "No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us." 4:12
  • "If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?" 4:20
  • "And this commandment have we from him, that he who loveth God love his brother also. 4:21
  • "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him." 5:1
  • "By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments." 5:2

Let us not become so sullied by the world's definition of love that we cannot genuinely love our brothers and sisters in Christ. There is a pure, strong, unquenchable love that has nothing to do with romance or personal attraction. The world does not know of the existence of this love and cannot understand its selflessness. But as God loves us and lives in our hearts, He begins to fill our hearts with His love, which spills over toward our brothers and sisters. It is a sweet thing to know God's love in this way.

~ ~ ~ ~

By the way, see my previous Valentine's Day post for my thoughts on my current relationship status. I am in love, too.

And this post from a blog I read is worth your time whether you're married or not. Excerpt:

"I used to think it was hypocritical to act in love when I didn't feel like it. The truth is? It is actually hypocritical for me to act what I feel instead of who I am and have been made in Jesus Christ!"

1 comment:

Thank you for commenting! I love comments! You have just made my day! :-)