Thursday, September 8, 2011

Being Affectionate - showing that golden rule living through brotherly love

Romans 12:10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another.

Well, this one is a hard one, isn’t it?  We need to be affectionate with others and give preference to others as well!  Being affectionate doesn’t just mean being a huggy person, although I am one to never turn down a hug!  However, it’s being free with the expression of your love of others – it’s a tender love as the love of a parent to a child, not forced.  It’s common courtesy, a loving smile, a touch on the shoulder.  What is sweeter on this side of heaven than to love and to be loved? 

In order to understand the kind of love Jesus had for us and the kind of love we should have for other people, we need to look closely at John 21:14-17.  Jesus asked Peter 3 times if he loved Him.  The first two times Jesus was actually asking Peter if he “agape” loved him.  By using the word “agape”, Jesus was literally asking Peter if he would sacrifice or die for him.  The first two times, however, Peter answers that he “phileo” loved Christ.  Using this word “phileo” Peter was telling Jesus that he loved him like a brother.  Whether Peter does not understand what Christ is asking of him when Christ uses the word for agape love, or whether Peter is not willing to go so far as to say he will die for Christ, we do not know.  We do know that the third time, Jesus asks Peter if he loves him like a brother using the word phileo and Peter affirms that he does. 

Agape love is love that requires willful sacrifice.  In the New Testament, agape love is more in motion than emotion.  It says “I will do what is best for you, even if it costs me something.”  It means sharing your home, your time, your talents, and your money with others even though it may mean more work for you.

There is a popular song that has this line -

And they'll know we are Christians by our love, by our love they will know we are Christians by our love

This song is a challenge to Christians to really live with love towards each other and to share our love with others.  

Can the world really see Christ living in us as we walk past our sisters and don’t speak to them?  Or hold grudges for years over petty differences? 

I'll toss in a comment or two about modesty.  If we truly have agape love towards our brethren, we will be more aware of our clothing choices, and our behaviors.  I want to write more on this in the future ...  but this is just a nugget to think about.

We could talk quite a bit here about being hospitable as well.  I wrote an article a few years ago about hospitality, the lack of it in the church, the need for it in the church and some simple ways to be hospitable.  This is an area in which I love, and so much desire for us to invest more time in.  Ladies, we need to be hospitable, we need to train our children in hospitality and those of us who are older, need to train those who are younger.  (~more on this in the future~)

 Without Christians in the world to show Christ's love, a big part of that through hospitality, how are we ever going to turn people to Christ? Also, how do we get along with other Christians when we lack that hospitality in our lives?  Our hospitality as Christians should come from deep within us because of our love for Christ. Hospitality is a wonderful gift to others. We don't need a grand palace, or a dream home—few of us have those. To make others feel truly welcome, we only need an open heart.

 Consider this poem based on I Corinthians 13:

Love is patient, love is kind
Never boasts, not full of pride
Always hopes, always trusts
the evidence of Christ in us

Be affectionate and loving.

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