Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love, in honour preferring one another. – Romans 12:10.
How does God want us Christians to be minded toward one another and to deal with one another? We should have “brotherly love” for one another; for we are brethren. We have one heavenly Father by faith in Christ Jesus. We have one head, our dear Savior, and hence are members of one body in Him. We have one Holy Spirit, who brought us to faith, sanctifies and keeps in the saving faith through the Gospel.
By His grace we long for the promised inheritance of our Father, our eternal home in heaven. Ties of blood-relationship here in this world are as nothing when compared with our spiritual relationship as members of the household of God and as dear brethren in the “unity of the Spirit” (Ephesians 4:3). Therefore we should cherish “brotherly love” for one another. And in this “brotherly love” we should be “kindly affectioned” one to another. We should deal kindly with one another. In a truly affectionate manner we should “rejoice with them that do rejoice and weep with them that weep” (v. 15). And our “brotherly love” should be active, or it is not truly sincere (I John 3:17-18). We should “distribute to the necessity of the saints,” that is, our Christian brethren, and be “given to hospitality” (v. 13).
We should not permit ourselves to become embittered when our love is not reciprocated, as if we are personally insulted by their inattention. Do we imagine ourselves better at loving others than anyone else?? We should also respect our dear brethren. Each one should “esteem the other better than himself” and “in honor prefer one another” − even exceeding the Lord’s commandment that we love our neighbor “as” we love ourselves. We should treat the lowliest brother just the same as we do the most prominent one (v. 16).
If our brother treats us ill, we should not be “overcome of [by] evil,” abandoning brotherly love, but we should practice brotherly love by admonishing him to repentance, by not suffering sin upon him (Leviticus 19:17) and thus “overcoming evil with good.” As the children of God, we should be “kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven [us]” (Ephesians 4:32).
Let such brotherly love always be the goal for which we strive in the Holy Spirit for Jesus’ sake.
PRAYER – Dear heavenly Father, teach me inwardly, by Thy Holy Spirit through Thy Word, to love my dear Christian brethren. My heart, indeed, is depraved and selfish and hateful by nature. But I pray Thee, create in me a clean heart and a right spirit or attitude, O Lord, so that brotherly love may sprout and grow within it to the praise of Thy grace in Christ Jesus, my Savior. Hear my prayer for His sake. Amen.
Thou sacred Love, grace on us bestow.
Set our hearts with heavenly fire aglow,
that with hearts united we love each other,
of one mind, in peace with every brother.
Lord, have mercy!
Hymn 231, 3.