Brother

Love  Your Brother

It is common to find that Christian believers are somewhat apathetic about the plight of those they meet.  Many times we are not sensitive to others simply due to the fact that our own lives are often filled with difficulty and turmoil.  After all, when you smash your thumb with a hammer, you’re not thinking about anyone’s pain but your own.

So many Christians are under severe attacks both from within and without, and the church in general lacks effectiveness.  Unfortunately, we have been taught that we must put on a brave face and “believe” regardless of how we really feel.  It has gotten so bad that sometimes Christians even commit suicide and people exclaim, “How could this be, they were such strong believers.” This only goes to show how disconnected we are from each other in the Body of Christ.  We often don’t know our brethren deeper than a surface acquaintance.

We are our brother’s keeper

It is time that we start to wake up and truly become the Good Samaritan scriptures speak about.  It is not our pastor’s job to bear one another’s burdens, but rather it is our calling to do so. To be a good neighbor means that we must be aware of the needs of others.  We must become involved with others and enter into their difficulties when necessary.  However, we do not have to do this alone,  for the Spirit of God within us will minister to those in need if we are willing.

Many times, through heartbreaking experience, we learn it is not wise to rely upon our brethren.  We find that in trying times people suddenly disappear or are not available when we need them most.  People say they care but their words are not genuine.  What others say amounts to only to a kind of “surface caring”, lacking any real substance.

Praise God, all is well with me brother

Likewise, when we hide ourselves from our brethren because we don’t trust them with our hearts we also rob them of a chance to minister to us and receive a blessing.  Surface caring and mistrust combines together to hide what is really going on in the hearts of God’s children.  This charade gives the false impression that things are better than they actually are. Often times those who really need help suffer silently while their brethren stand by, smile and say, “God bless you be at peace”.

I remember in Bible College I once felt very far away from God.  Though I was learning all about the Bible, the Devil was really beating me down with condemnation.  On the outside, I looked as though I was the model of a young man of God, studying hard to become a minister, while all the time dying on the inside. No one said anything but you learned very quickly that when someone asks, “how are you brother” you were expected to reply, “praise God, I’m doing well!”  If you ever dared tell the truth an awkward pause and Christian platitude would be muttered and the subject changed.  There was quite of bit of peer pressure to pretend all was well even if it was not.

Telling the truth

Finally, I could not keep up the pretense any longer and wrote a very plain letter to one of my Bible College teachers stating my difficulties and I held back nothing. That next day the teacher came up to me and said, “I think others may be going through the same thing you are, may I read this in noon chapel?”  I hesitated but when he assured me he would not give my name I consented.

You see, I was still afraid of having my brethren know my true state. As he read my letter describing how I felt so far away from God, you could have heard a pin drop.  Afterwards, when the teacher asked those to stand who felt like the author,  everyone stood for prayer, some even wept. To my surprise, I was not alone in my sufferings.

When we pretend that we are living the Christian life when in fact we are not, we perpetuate a lie that causes others around us to lie also.  When many pretend to be victorious, they make those struggling feel much worse.  Moreover, when the world sees we are faking it, they despise us and the God we serve.

Many ministers suffer in silence

I know of ministers who suffer terribly in silence because they cannot let on that they struggle just like others do.  They have worked so hard to look like successful and happy believers, they fear to be human. Every so often we see ministers fall and we react in utter amazement.  We act so surprised when in reality it is partly our fault.  As their flock, we do not allow leaders to be mere mortals and seek help without fear of judgment from those they lead.

Why not stop pretending to be like Christ and start really being Christ like.  Jesus was so real that He could eat with publicans and sinners not fearing that they would corrupt His soul.  He cared deeply and spoke directly to the real issues of those who came to Him.  Jesus spoke the truth, even when it was not pretty or expedient.  The world doesn’t take us seriously because we are caricatures of what we imagine a good Christian should be like.  Stop pretending we are what the Bible says and start simply being it to our brethren.

Finally, God says,

“If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”

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