“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” – Mark 12: 30-31

The term ‘self-love’ has become one of the most used terms in the world. It is almost a buzzword that excites people because we all want to learn about loving and treating ourselves the way we deserve. But do we put the same energy towards learning or indeed loving our brothers? 

‘Brotherly love’, derived from the Greek word, ‘Philadelphia,’ meaning the ‘love of brothers,’ is a Biblical command, as seen in our anchor Scripture. It is the feeling of compassion and humanity towards others. This is likened to a trait the early church had that caused them to sell their possessions to make sure everyone in the folk had enough (Acts 2:44-47).

Apostle Paul educated us on the importance of brotherly love and how it transcends our differences because we are all united in one spirit and are members of the same body (Romans 12: 5). Every believer is just as relevant to the body of Christ as you are.  So, we ought to treat them how we would treat ourselves. 

Brotherly love is the foundation of all we are and all we do as believers; otherwise, our spiritual gifts will not matter (I Corinthians 13: 1). What use is learning all about love if the person next to you doesn’t experience it? 

Do not be like the Levites who saw a man dying and didn’t help, despite all their knowledge; but instead, be like the Good Samaritan who showed love to a man with an entirely different background from his (Luke 10: 25- 30).

Let us consider practical ways to demonstrate such love:

One of the ways to show love is to genuinely care about the well-being of others. When you exhibit such unfiltered care, it will be easy to notice when your brother is struggling or going through tough times. Always put yourself in your neighbour’s shoes and ask, ‘What can I do to make this person’s life easier?’  The answers to that can range from a simple phone call to buying lunch, all the way to paying someone’s fees. 

Another way to show brotherly love is to be ready to sacrifice for the greater good because love is sacrifice. Every time we remember the love and sacrifice of Jesus, it should remind us of our responsibility to others. If Christ put us and our salvation ahead of His comfort and gave His life for us, then we must learn to selflessly put others ahead of ourselves (1 John 3:16).

What about forgiveness? Give it freely and do not withhold it from your brethren (1 Corinthians 13:4-5). It may not be humanly easy but we have the holy spirit to help navigate the hurt and push you to extend grace.  Remember the story of Philemon and Onesimus. Apostle Paul urged Philemon to take back Onesimus (who had wronged him and fled) as a brother because they shared the same faith. 

Dear believer, brotherly love is an action and not just words. Let us endeavour to show this love to everyone around us every day because it is one of God’s greatest commandments.  

Bible Reading Plan: Matthew 12: 1-21

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