Why is Brotherly Love so Important?
Why is Brotherly Love So Important?
Even though not given much emphasis in modern day churches, the importance of "brotherly love" is frequently stressed in the Bible. (See "10 Bible Verses on Brotherly Love")
If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar. For he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 1 John 4:20
The first and greatest Commandment is to love God (Matthew 22:36-37). However, if one does not love his brother, it is not even possible for him to love God! "Loving one's brother" is t-h-a-t important!
In our blog post "What God Looks For In A King?", we also mentioned that "brotherly love" is a major criteria used in choosing a king. Abraham and Judah both demonstrated their willingness to protect their brother, and they were both chosen as kings.
Esau I Hated
Alongside with the Lord's emphasis on "brotherly love", He also showed a strong displeasure on the persecution of one's own brother. The Lord made this striking statement in Romans 9:13, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated".
What did Esau do?
I believe this is because Esau had a perpetual hatred towards his twin brother Jacob who was chosen by God to inherit Abraham's Blessings. His hatred was even extended to his descendants the "Edomites".
You (Edomites) harbored an ancient hatred and delivered the Israelites over to the sword in the time of their disaster at the final stage of their punishment. Ezekiel 35:5
Esau planned to kill Jacob (Genesis 27:41)
When Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, they asked for permission to pass through the land of Edom. However, the king of Edom refused and came out with a great army against Moses instead. (Numbers 20:14-21)
Edomites raided Judah when they fell into the hands of Babylonians (Ezekiel 20:12-14)
Edomites had a perpetual hatred towards Israel, and had shed the blood of the children of Israel in the time of their calamity. (Ezekiel 35:5)
Edomites delighted in the destruction of Israel (Ezekiel 35:14)
Edomites were violent and cruel to their brothers, the sons of Jacob (Obadiah 1:10)
Edomites were apathetic to the destruction of Jerusalem (Obadiah 1:11)
When Tyre delivered captives of Israelites to Edom, Edomites took them as slaves (Amos 1:9).
Final Destiny of Esau
Pretty bad things Esau and the Edomites had done to their brothers! And one more important thing to note is, by persecuting Jacob and the Israelites who were chosen by God, Esau and the Edomites were also fighting against the Will of God.
Finally, Edom was wiped out.
But I have made Esau bare; I have uncovered his secret places, and he shall not be able to hide himself. His descendants are plundered, His brothers and his neighbors, and he is no more. Jeremiah 49:10
Brotherly Love is an Advanced Spiritual Development
If brotherly love is so important, why doesn't everyone develop it? To answer this question, I would like to share my little funny experience.
My Little Funny Experience
When I first heard a sermon about Peter's 8 steps in developing the fruit of "love" from "faith" (2 Peter 1:5-7), I immediately said to myself, "I can just start by loving people without going through the other difficult steps like "self-control" and "perseverance"! Then when I started to do so, I almost immediately realised that mankind is the most difficult creation to love!
It would be much easier for me to love an animal, a plant, or even a pretty stone; but humans are so full of hostility, anger, jealousy, deceitfulness, selfishness, and much more! Then it suddenly came to me how great Jesus' love is that He died for us even when we were still sinners!
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. 2 Peter 1:5-7
True Love is Sacrificial
All true love is sacrificial. If someone says he or she loves you, but is unwilling to sacrifice anything for you, you can almost be sure that "their love is not real"!
But how can anyone develop a sacrificial love without going through the difficult steps to learn faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness and brotherly kindness? The conclusion is :