Welcome to part 9 in our series from 2 Peter 1:5-8! It’s hard to believe we are already nearing the end.
But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Today we’ll be looking at brotherly kindness. First off, what is it?
We’ll take a little detour and look at the type of words these are.
Brotherly is an adjective – a word to express an attribute or describe something.
Kindness is a noun – so brotherly is the adjective modifying that noun.
Bored yet? Don’t worry, I’m done with the grammar lesson.
The reason I wanted to do that was because *my* initial reactions to “brotherly kindness” were things like “being kind to your brothers” and things like that. But because “brotherly” actually modifies “kindness,” the kindness we are to have is not necessarily to our brothers but the same kind as to our brothers.
Now obviously if you argue with your brothers and don’t get along this isn’t a good kind of kindness to show to people.
But we (hopefully) also love our siblings. I know that I would die any day for my two brothers – I love them and I would do anything for them.
So wait, we’re supposed to love our friends and family like we love our brothers?
Well, sort of.
When we say “brotherly” it has a deeper sense to it – as opposed to “friendly,” “nicely,” or another related word.
Brothers and sisters are very different from friends. You know them in a way you don’t know your friends because you’ve grown up with them.
The word brotherly says “I know so much about you. I know you when you’re feeling great and I know you when you’re in pain. I know you when you’re in a nasty mood and I know you when you’re not. I know when you’ve hurt people and when you’ve loved. And I still love you.”
1 Timothy 5 says that we are to treat men and women as brothers and sisters – with all purity.
The purpose of brotherly kindness is not just an exhortation to treat others nicely – but to treat them with purity and love.
Maybe you’re single – or maybe you’re married. If you’re single, we are asked to treat everyone as brothers and sisters. If you’re married, you treat everyone as brothers and sisters too – except your spouse.
The next logical question is…why? Why do we need to treat others with purity – as brothers and sisters?
The answer is so we can be sanctified for Christ’s purpose. God wants us to love others sincerely. We have so many friends, acquaintances, and with facebook – not-so-acquaintances. But God wants us to have deeper, sincere relationships – to encourage others and point them to Christ.
2 weeks ago, we talked about godliness, and how it wasn’t just not being ungodly, but seeking Christ. And when we seek Christ, we find that seeking Him leads us to love others. We can’t seek Christ without doing what He commands us to do, and He wants us to love our family and friends – sincerely.
There are a lot of siblings in the Chronicles of Narnia. There’s the Pevensie children and Eustace, Shasta/Cor and Corin, and even though they’re not related, Shasta and Aravis; Polly and Digory; Jill and Eustace.
The Pevensies clearly have an unbreakable bond – and how does that translate to how they treat others? While I found this aspect of it ruined in the movies, it’s much more prominent in the books.
In the movies, Peter and Susan (in my opinion) don’t treat others with that same kind of brotherly kindness. Peter and Caspian fight, Susan and Caspian flirt. We could go into long discussions about whether it fit in the movie or not, but my purpose in bringing it up is not to bash the movie but to show that in the book, their characters didn’t act that way. Peter and Caspian got along quite well, and treated each other like brothers rather than rivals.
Edmund learns to love his siblings throughout the course of LWW. Even though he’ not really the huggy-type of person, you see a deep sense of love and care for his siblings as his character progresses – that translates to how he treats others.
Eustace obviously has no brotherly kindness to either his cousins nor those around him. But you see that as he grows, he grows to love his cousins, and it translates to those around him.
We see this in Jill & Eustace and Shasta & Aravis. While they’re not related, they love each other with a kind of unbreakable bond that – while they annoy each other and know each other’s quirks – they both have a mission; a goal they’re trying to reach for that unites them.
Whenever we are concerned about our own desires: Edmund’s self-fulfilling desires in LWW, Peter’s desire to be king and Susan’s desire for a steadier, self-fulfilling life in PC, Eustace’s beliefs and refusals, Lucy’s desire for beauty, and Edmund’s desire to be king in VDT, and Jill and Eustace’s desire to be warm and fed in SC. These are all conflicts within the characters that distract from the goal.
When we are focused on a person – whether ourselves or someone else – instead of the goal of knowing Christ – it breaks down these relationships.
Edmund and Caspian became much better friends when Edmund realized that he could not be king. Jill and Eustace became closer when they kept their focus on finding Prince Rilian. When they focused on Harfang, they were cranky, upset at each other, and forgot the whole point of what they were there to do.
It’s hard to choose to accept others and love them when they’re getting on our nerves. But when we’re willing to place Christ’s desires over ours, we’ll find that the fulfillment and satisfaction is far beyond words.
We have to place Christ as our priority, and then place loving others above ourselves.
Philippians says Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but with lowliness of mind let each esteem others as better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests but also for the interests of others.