The Brethren: A Love-Frustration Relationship
This is a pretty weird title to a simple article. However, in some of our eyes our relationships with our brothers and sisters in Christ, may at times, appear to be a loving and yet frustrating (at times) relationship.
First, the Lord wants us to love each other as He loves us. That sounds nice and yet it is difficult especially when brethren disappoint or even hurt us in some way.
The brethren at times have been known to disappoint, disagree, disillusion, hurt us, break our hearts, break their word, be insensitive at times and appear to be uncaring. Hey, I’ve known the brethren to lie and disregard Christian courtesy and rules. What do we do when any of this happens? We have choices. We can focus on their negative behavior or we can focus on their positive behavior. We can react and be angry or we can show mercy and forgive. We should also seek to reconcile. I offer these suggestions:
Expect your brothers and sisters to fail you. They are human and weak; they will make mistakes and errors. If you expect perfection, you will be greatly disappointed. Yes, in some sense, they should know better but many times in spite of that, they do ‘unexpected’ things.
Remember you do similar things also. You are human also. You make the same or other types of errors as do the brethren and sometimes your motivations are just as questionable. He who is without sin…applies here.
Communicate with them not about them. Matt.18:15-17 tells us the procedure of dealing with brethren who disappoint. Don’t talk about them, talk to them. You may learn something if you talk to them. They may also learn something about you. Both are helpful.
Don’t allow Satan to destroy any of your relationships with the brethren. Remember, Satan is the enemy, not the brethren. Don’t allow Satan to control you in difficult situations.
Pray for patience. Don’t walk away. Practice patience. Love is patient and kind; pray for the patience that only the Holy Spirit can give you. Also a prayer for self-control may be in order. And yes, wisdom.
Ask the right questions and don’t accuse. Listen and learn what the real issue is. Everyone of us carries burdens and challenges and these things can cause us to take short cuts, deceive and even do poor work. I’m not making excuses for the brethren, I’m suggesting that we have a merciful attitude towards the brethren. Seek to understand versus be understood. You might offer assistance or help.
I’d rather have a disagreement or disappointment with a brother or sister in Christ than some non-believer who has little or no moral code on such matters. Almost 100% of time, a brother or sister and I can work things out. This is God’s way.
In spite of all their faults and shortcomings, I treasure and adore all of my brothers and sisters in Christ—even the grouchy ones. They are precious and I look forward to worship with them when we assemble and I look forward to one day being with them forever. Trav