Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another– Romans 12:11
We saw that we must be REAL and PURE in our love. We now must be FERVENT in our love. This fervent love is deep, eager, and unconstrained. This is how we are to love our brothers and sisters in Christ.
[Just a note: I tend to prefer the term Born-Again Believer over terms like “saved” and “Christian” on this website. I like both of these other terms, but these terms have been so thrown around and misused that “Born-Again Believer” seems to be more specific. I love the term “Christian”, but that term implies the Born-Again Believer is Christlike, and we know that is not the case all the time.]
Let’s look briefly at some quick points John the Beloved highlights concerning love.
- It is in the nature of a Born-Again Believer to love the brethren. (1 John 3:14)
- A Born-Again Believer cares for the needs of his brother in Christ. (1 John 3:17)
- If one hates his brother, he does not love God. (1 John 4:20)
- We are commanded to love our brother. (1 John 4:21)
What strikes me as remarkable is that first point in 1 John 3:14. It is in the nature of a Born-Again Believer to love the brethren! There’s something in us that deeply cares for others, but especially those in our church. Can you claim this verse for yourself? Do you love others in the church? I wonder if many of us have submitted to our CARNAL nature in our attitudes towards others and not our SPIRITUAL nature.
Be Kindly Affectioned One to Another With Brotherly Love
There is one compound Greek word behind the words “kindly affectioned” which implies a natural, strong, love. This natural love is the kind of natural love a mother would have for her child. We could call it a parental love. This parental love is deep and passionate. It is unrestrained. I’ve watched parents get annoyed at the constant crying of their infant child, but the parent still feeds the child. No matter how selfish and egocentric that infant child is, parents with this natural love will do everything they can to meet the infant’s needs. As the infant grows, the parent’s love grows as well. All the memories of struggle and success in raising the child accumulates. The parent cares about the problems their child faces and tries to prepare them to handle future struggles. The natural love of the parent doesn’t stop. This love is UNCONSTRAINED and UNENDING.
Brotherly love on the other hand carries with it other connotations. Whereas the parental love brings about pictures of unconstrained, unending, parental love, brotherly love indicates a love with eagerness and readiness to rush to the aid of a brother. The dearest of friends will have this kind of love. When we think of brotherly love we picture a someone eager to help his brother out. Maybe a boy in the fourth grade is helped out of a fight by his older brother. Maybe a grown man is facing financial difficulties and is helped out by his older brother. The love of a brother should be one of a readiness to rush to aid.
So we see a FERVENT, family love in this verse. We are to be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love. We must show that natural, parental love by being abundantly gracious, unconstrained, and unending in our care for our brothers and sisters in Christ. When a brother struggles in their spiritual walk, we don’t just throw him away. A parent wouldn’t do that. We should be kindly affectioned toward him. We must also show that eager love, ready to rush to the aid of our brethren. We must be ready to provide the support whenever needed.
“My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18).
We MUST have this FERVENT, FAMILIAL love for our brothers and sisters in Christ!