“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.”
What is the most loving thing you can do for another person? Especially a brother or a sister with whom you share the common bond and fellowship of Christ Jesus. In the passage above Paul uses the term “brotherly love” which reminds of a family affection. Now I can only speak of my family but I can confidently say my mother and father, my brother and my sister would never do anything, at least intentionally, to hurt, harm or destroy me. In fact we do just the opposite. In my family we do everything to build each other up. We support one another and when one of us goes through a difficult time, we are right there helping, encouraging and strengthening one another. The individual members of my family do not live in isolation either. We tend to know what is going on in each other’s lives and therefore we live as a family unit, living life in the presence of one another. This brings about accountability and responsibility. There must be honest love among us, not hypocritical love that betrays and then runs away.
Jesus intended his church to live as community; as a family unit and in brotherly love. The apostle Paul is writing to the church at Rome and telling them, you can’t live isolated in your little groups as Jews and Gentiles separated from each other, you have to come together. Not only come together in brotherly affection for one another, but also “honoring one another above yourselves.” There are those in our family that deserve honor, parents and grandparents. But we must also be encouraged to think about the needs of others in our family, especially in our church family that deserve special honor. We are not strangers to each other. We are brothers and sisters because we have the same Father, God. Therefore, “Accept one another, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God,” (Romans 15:7).
Heavenly Father, we pray to love one another as brothers and sisters who have the same brother, Jesus Christ, and the same Father, God. May your Holy Spirit, who produces fellowship and communion, dwell among us. Forgives when we are rude and unkind to each other. Forgive when we say mean hurtful things that tear up and destroy the family. We pray for your Spirit of love, joy and peace to be in our hearts. In the name of our brother Jesus we pray, Amen.