Who wouldn’t like to be treated with a lot of attention, love and respect? Who wouldn’t like those around him to be politely interested in the way his life is going? We all need attention, appreciation and support, but you cannot have these things if you have not been taught to offer them. I know that selfish people, gossips, those who are stingy, or liars are not the people you would like to interact with. Frankly, such people were not accepted in the early church. The early church was founded on other principles.
Spiritual discipline, obedience to leaders, meeting the needs of those around them, purity of heart, all these were part of the experience of the first Christians. The Bible tells us that these principles were part of the brotherly bond. Such a life certainly could not be seen in others, so the Holy Scriptures mention that the way of life of the first Christians in history was pleasant and approved by the society of that time. Certainly, each of us wants to live in a community where brotherhood is lived. Unfortunately, I have to admit that we are correct in this regard. When the fraternal bond is a reality in the church and in society, only then is there a victory over human failure. Judge for yourself what society we live in, days that the apostle Paul calls “hard times.” These are not hard times because of poverty or persecution against Christians, but they have become hard because of people who can no longer endure healthy teaching, because of people who turn from the truth and turn to imaginary stories, people are self-loving, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant or blasphemous, without natural love, unyielding, slanderous, unbridled…., having only a form of piety.
If somehow one of these characteristics is common to us, then we are far from the brotherly bond we long for, but which we are not ready to offer.
We are far from seeing people’s needs. The word “love” has been used so much that it has lost its beauty and purity. In the biblical context it is necessary to rehabilitate this word in its true sense. Brotherly faith and love are inseparable. These are the two pillars of the Church of Jesus Christ. One is not possible without the other. Living faith is the lever of brotherly love, as it is written in Galatians. That is why the fraternal connection in the church should be the main sign of the reality of faith in Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Failures have several causes. It is easy to say that I love my neighbor, but when disagreements or misunderstandings arise, brotherly love is extinguished as if it were no more. Because of human weaknesses, God by His Word urges us to be of the same mind, to feel for one another, to be humble and merciful. And if we look for these qualities, it will certainly be much easier for us to bring the fraternal connection to the forefront and that will be visible to all people.
Love and brotherhood must be mutual. He who calls himself a Christian is called to have the same behavior toward others. Our families, the country we live in and the churches we come from are an extraordinary field where we can manifest our brotherly connection. Each of us works in one field or another and everywhere there are people who are easy to love or harder to bear. Christians must learn and practice brotherly love, otherwise the Bible calls our faith devilish.
In conclusion, I just want to mention that one of the tools for strengthening or destroying the brotherly bond is language. The words we say or don’t say are an expression of everything in our hearts, so change begins with each of us. That is why it is called the “brotherly bond”, so that in this connection you also have your share. We need to ask ourselves: Do I really love those in my church? Am I full of affection for them? Do I have the same feelings that were in Jesus for the people around me? A self-examination is absolutely necessary to know what my level is in love and brotherhood.
Translated by Didina Vicliuc