Monday, September 01, 2014

Love the brothers

This was written by our Claire and sent out to everyone by email this morning. I can add nothing to this gem but gladly share it.

Dear brothers and sisters,

Something has been on my heart lately, and I have felt led to write about it to everyone. I don't mean to teach anybody anything they don't already know, but simply to encourage everyone.

I'll jump right in.

The thing about the truth is that when you know you have it, you don't mind if others don't fully grasp it. If we have seized this eternal truth, that God is love and that we as his children must love too, then we are liberated from trying to make people agree with us. We brothers and sisters don't have to agree. Seven of us makes a big family. With our spouses it will one day make fourteen, without counting children and in-laws. 
It would be difficult for us to try to stay in agreement on every point. But we don't have to. We simply have to love each other as fellow Christians, as brothers and sisters in the flesh and in Christ. Yes, it's fun to all like the same things. It's fun to have a family around you who understands the Bible the same way you do, who thinks the same things about health, science, history, politics. But it is not necessary. It is necessary that we love one another right through our differences and see the value each person has in the eyes of God. "For he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?" Love people as they are. Don't try to change them in order to love them. Don't love them in order to change them. Just love. Love because God loved first, because God is love. Love Olly as he is. Don't make it your project to change him. Make it your project to love him and be his friend.

This is the most important issue of our lives. It is more important than our reputation in the community or with our friends, than the education of our children, than our health, than any of the choices we have made over the years for our lifestyle. Think of the importance which is placed on love in the New Testament. Think of how much Jesus, Paul, John and the others talked about it. Upon our love for each other depends whether we make a success or failure of our entire lives, for all eternity. Think how long we will have, after our death, to regret not having stayed close together in our spirit. Eternity is long enough to look back at every moment of our lives. It is long enough to bitterly regret and to ask : why? Why should we prefer our pride to helping our brother? Maybe it was because of reputation, maybe we were annoyed at him, maybe we had been entertaining thoughts unworthy of a Christian so that when the test came, we failed. And we have all eternity to regret.
But it's not too late yet. Every one of us is still here. Every bitter word, every offence can be undone. Don't let time settle on the matter. Don't let the devil rob you of your brother or sister. Each one of us has six brothers and sisters, plus parents, spouses, nieces and nephews. God has given them to us. If a quarrel has separated you from one of them, you are the loser and the devil has won. Your pride remained intact, but you lost what could have been such a wonderful blessing in your life. You'll never get a new one to replace him. You'll never have another brother or sister. But the old one is still alive. Go see him. Love him. Ask God for the strength to make up. He will grant it to you. Then you will have made a step forward and the devil a step backwards.

Love Raph. Don't wish he were some other way. Love him because he is him.
Love Lilly. You may not understand what happened. Maybe you never will. But maybe that doesn't matter. You don't have to understand to continue loving.
Love Roo. You don't have to think like him. You don't have to live the way he wants to live. You have to love him because God gave His life for him.
Love Becky.See everyone's wonderful qualities. Becky has childlikeness. Remember all the Bible says about being childlike. Maybe you think this wasn't what was meant. Never mind.
Love Becky.
Love Christopher. He is the only one of him who exists. He is so precious in the eyes of God. It's more important to live out our love for him daily than it is to raise animals, succeed at work, acquire new skills.
Love Olly. Though he is still a child, remember that he will one day be a man and that his man's memory will reach back to his childhood, to the kindnesses shown, to the acts of love you have done for him. These acts will seal him closely to us and ensure his place in our midst.

If anyone is going through difficulties and seems distant, we don't know when they will get out of it and become one of us once again. We don't even know whether they ever will. Because of this we must love them in advance.

Raph and Camille know what it is to have a big family. They know how much they would like for every one of their children to grow up loved and surrounded by the others. They want their children to stay close, even after they will be gone, as we all do. Let us therefore remember that we are the ideal towards which these children will almost inevitably strive. If we fail to keep our love alive, our children will not even try to do so, because they will firmly believe it is impossible, even if we tell them it is. And if in half a century, when Amos and Ruben are 55, there is no more love between them than there is between worldly brothers and sisters, for example, then our lives will have been a failure. We may still go to heaven, but we will have had a useless life. There is so much good to be done in the world. This is the reason we did not go straight to heaven when we became Christians.

Amos and Ruben are best friends, not because they are the same age, but because their parents are so close. Because their fathers spend their days working together and their mothers spend their days helping each other. If we adults fail to love each other enough, Amos and Ruben will most certainly follow in our steps. If David does not hear of Raph's love for Lilly his sister, despite all that happened, think what could happen between him and Susanne later on. These lovely children will one day be adults and our sample will either help them or hinder them in their challenges. Our sample will not be without effect. It will most certainly have an effect, for better or for worse. Christine must know that Becky loves Olly, or what might happen between her and Paul, when the angelic charm of infancy will be dispelled and the man will be revealed?

We have an enormous responsibility, not only toward each other, but toward our children. Raph and Camille's children will admire and follow us, and my children will admire and follow them. The consequences of how we act today are almost immeasurable. Let's not fail. too bad for our pride. Too bad for that extra thing you really want. Too bad if you're so sure you're the only one who's right. Maybe you are. Jesus didn't say, This is my commandment, that ye be right about everything as I have been right about everything.

On the eternal scale, when you will see your children and grand-children bickering and arguing, you will turn to your brother and say : " I don't care any more about what was my life-time project. I don't care about that issue that annoyed me for my whole life and that caused unkindness and contention between us. I was right about it but I don't care any more. I just love you." But you will be powerless to act on earth. You will have to watch and regret for all eternity. And that big all-important thing will seem so small. This matters more than the success of Microtec, more than building a house, more than learning to do all the interesting arts and crafts from before. These things must serve our main purpose, which is to live in Christian harmony. If they seem incompatible, we know which must surrender. Think then, on the grand scale of things, what a glorious and Christ-like action it would be, to be conciliative to such an extent that you would give up your life-project for the brothers. Lay down your life for the brethren. "By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, that you love one another."

The good news is that it's easy. It's so much easier to love than it is to hate. Sometimes your pride has to suffer, but always remember that's a good thing. Jesus is humble and lowly of spirit. Ask him in when you know you can't love. The old man can't love, but the new man can't help loving. When Jesus comes in and overwhelms you, you can't help loving. You feel so free. You don't have to hold on to that grudge. You don't have to join a camp. It's so easy, so empowering to love. You don't have to remember the detail of what unkind thing he said, of how hurt you are, of how wrong he is. Just love. Love with child-like simplicity. Love each other for your own sake, because every one of us needs our love, whether they admit it or not.

Lilly needs our love. Camille and Debbie need our love. Christopher and Olly need our love. Love each other for our parents' sake. They forsook all and made themselves strangers for life so that they could raise a Christian family. We have been the purpose of their lives. Let's not disappoint them. Love each other for our children's sake. They need a model. When we will be gone, our good sample will remain to help them through the confusion of the world. Love each other for the world's sake, because they cannot believe in Christianity unless they see that it truly exists. Love each other for God's sake. Because God loves each one of us so much that we cannot love him truly without loving each other.

We love each other, not because any one of us has anything loveable in him, but because God loved us so much that he considered us worth dying for, so that it would be blasphemous to despise someone who means so much to God. Notice God doesn't love someone because they are good, kind, loveable or right. God loves every last sinner. God loves people because He is who He is, not because they are who they are. We all have terrible faults. No one of us is good, kind, loveable or right. Every one of us is wrong on at least one issue. Don't love your brother because there's something about him that makes you love him. Love him because there's something about you that makes you love him. It's not too late. Just do it. Crucify your pride. Love.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Claire, that,s so true. May God bless You when You walk His ways. I miss You all here in Sweden even I'v both a good apartment, a nice car and some really good friends.

    Mats Rydin