The Need For Brotherly Kindness
We must treat other Christians as "family." Peter wrote, "Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous." (1 Peter 3:8) God wants us to love everybody, but before we can do that we must learn to show kindness and love to the brethren. The need for brotherly kindness is seen in that, (1) We have the same Father -- God, (2) We serve the same Master -- Jesus, (3) We are all in the same Family -- the family of God or church, (4) We are all traveling through the same strange land -- strangers and pilgrims, and (5) We are all heirs of the same inheritance -- Heaven. Without brotherly kindness in our words and relationships it will be impossible for us to become an active part of the church. Paul wrote, "Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God." (Ephesians 2:19) In 2 Peter 1:5-11 God lists a number of qualities needed in the life of every Christian "But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." Among other things God said we need to add “brotherly kindness.”
Brotherly kindness is a quality that is respected and appreciated. Brotherly kindness is a quality or grace that is admired and appreciated in the lives of men. The Bible speaks often of this much desired trait. Observe the following scriptures relating to kindness:
"A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, but the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness." (Proverbs 15:1-2)
"What is desired in a man is kindness, and a poor man is better than a liar." (Proverbs 19:22)
"She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness." (Proverbs 31:26)
"And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you." (Ephesians 4:32)
"Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering." (Colossians 3:12)
Brotherly kindness can be developed by imitating the life of Jesus. Jesus went about doing good to people. Peter told of, "How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him." (Acts 10:38) He not only taught the "Golden Rule;" He practiced it. "Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 7:12) Jesus was kind even to those who opposed and abused Him.
Brotherly kindness can be developed through prayer and Bible study. If you are not as kind as you should be, PRAY! "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened." (Matthew 7:7-8) God hears and answers prayer. "Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us." (1 John 5:14) Pray to God to help you develop "brotherly kindness." Reading God's word also encourages brotherly kindness. Remember Paul's words, "And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you." (Ephesians 4:32) The Bible, everywhere, in statement and principle teaches brotherly kindness.
Brotherly kindness can be developed by giving more consideration to our thoughts and our words. A kind word can be a wonderful blessing. "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold In settings of silver." (Proverbs 25:11) Let us all be careful lest we hurt others with our words. Some people seem to take pride in the fact that they "just say what they think." It might be that both what they think and what they say needs to change. Before you speak "Stop and think." "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy -- meditate on these things." (Philippians 4:8)
Brotherly kindness can be developed by doing kind deeds. Kind deeds done by Christians bless both the doer and the receiver. Kind deeds are the result of practicing Christianity on a daily basis. A better world begins with me. We imitate the Savior when we do kind deeds. "But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life." (Titus 3:4-7) In loving kindness let us bless our world! Brotherly kindness is involved in the first and second great commandments. "Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 22:35-40)
Many needs exist in our world. Building our "brotherly kindness" will make a tremendous difference in filling those needs. Brotherly kindness pleases God and blesses men. "Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others." (Philippians 2:4) Are you a Christian? To begin your Christian life hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Luke 13:3), confess Jesus as Lord (Romans 10:9-10) and be baptized into Christ. "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ." (Galatians 3:26-27) After being washed in the blood of Jesus at baptism we must be among those who bless the world by practicing brotherly kindness. (Ephesians 4:32)
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, 306 Walnut Street, Greenville, Alabama 36037 USA