For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:5-8)
In my last post, I talked about godliness – being “like God”. I have to say that what I wrote, I don’t believe. I DO believe it – but I certainly don’t live as if I do. I’m sure I’m not the only one…. 🙂
Today, I want to talk about kindness.
and to godliness, brotherly kindness
Brotherly kindness…… Seems like an oxymoron to me, when I think about growing up. 🙂
Kidding. For the most part, I got along with my bro and sis. But we did have our fights, and the “MOOOOOOM, he’s touching me!!!” episodes. Still – we cared for, and care for each other. the saying “blood is thicker than water” applies to many families, mine not being an exception.
So – what if we loved all as if they were family? What if we looked at the world through God’s eyes? What if we saw EVERY PERSON as God does? How do you think that would look? I’m not so sure it would look the way things look today…..
Today there seems to be so much hatred, coming from all angles. We need an enemy. We need drama. We play right into satan’s hands……
Brotherly kindness – You see someone destitute, in need of food, water, money – don’t take your kids to the other side of the street, because “maybe this person will freak them out”! Talk to that man or woman, make them feel human. If just for a moment. And if they are in need, are we supposed to in our minds determine if they are going to “use our money for food or booze”? I don’t think so. I get that if you know the person intimantly, and know they are going to harm themselves, we should not help them to do so. But if in our hearts we are making a judgement call, based on one’s appearance and not on fact, I’m not so sure that is brotherly kindness….
Brotherley kindness – Today, it seems so easy to hide behind a vote, instead of putting yourself out there, on some very sensitive issues. Then we don’t ever have to talk about them. We are bound by fear, forgetting that “true love casts out fear”. So it’s much easier to vote anonymously on something, and put on our “nice face”. Sorry, that is not love. That is not brotherly kindness……
Brotherly kindness – Unfortunately, the opposite happens too….. “God hates fags”? Really???…… It seems our loudest voices are those that truly spew hate. I’m not talking about sharing the truth in love, when appropriate – again, that seems to be something we’re too crippled by fear to ever do. I’m talking about the loud, obnoxious, hate-mongers, that do nothing but divide. Truth itself will divide. The Gospel is offensive. We don’t need to add to it ourselves. Nor do we need to lift up others who do so as our heroes. Sure, most of us would think Fred Phelps is a whack job. But how many of us applaud someone like Glenn Beck? And why? And be honest here – is it maybe because we love deep down inside to feel some pleasure when he “sticks it to them” on the air? That’s not brotherly kindness…..
Why is it that Peter placed “brotherly kindness” after “godliness”? Maybe because we as human beings can’t in ourselves show true kindness? I’m not talking about how the world handles it. The world says “You do what is right by you, so long as you don’t intrude in my life”. That’s not brotherly kindness. But we are no different, if we don’t first try to emulate God in our lives.
This is not to say that nobody of themsevles can be kind. We see it happening all the time. But BROTHERLY KINDNESS is when we put ourselves out there, when we put others before oureslves, when we lay down our lives for others.
Some other examples of Brotherly kindness…..
Luke 10:30-35 – Jesus tells us about the good samaritan, who helps without worrying if the man deserves brotherly kindness.
Matthew 23 – Believe it or not, Jesus was not “sticking it to the Pharisees”, as he called them ‘brood of vipers’ and ‘whitewashed tombs’. He LOVED them. They needed to hear this, because their hearts were so hard. Remember, these are the very same people Jesus cried out for his Father to forgive, as they cruicified him. Brotherly kindness……
Ezekiel 3:18-21 – These verses talk about warning a wicked man and a righteous man. We are called to. If we saw someone running towards a cliff, to jump off, would we not do anything in our power to stop them? But by that token, I don’t think we would shoot them in the head to stop them. Nor would we yell “Hey idiot, you shouldn’t do that or God hates you!” No, these verses talk about simply responding with love. With brotherly kindness.
To the point of the verses in Ezekiel 3 – we don’t need to worry about whether our words stick. We have a gift we are to share. We aren’t the savior – only God can save. But we shouldn’t be bound by fear, or prejudice, or hatred, or we might miss those golden opportunities God presents us to share his love to others…..
I’ll leave you with this video from Penn Gillette. Penn is a devout atheist. In this video, he’s describing a man who approached him with the gospel. Not in an overbearing way. Not with any intentions that HE would be the one who converts Penn (He didn’t). But he did what he was called to do in this situation, no more no less. Penn describes this for you, as well as his thoughts (at least at the time this video was made) on what we should be doing, if we really believe what we believe…. Enjoy!