Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another…
Jesus said, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself'” (Matthew 22:37-38). In our verse for today, the Apostle Paul gets more specific about how we should love our neighbors. With respect to those neighbors who are also fellow members of the Christian community, our love should be “brotherly love.” Put more inclusively, our love should be like the love between the siblings of a family.
Since members of the Christian community are children of God and members of God’s family (1 John 3:1-2), the love they express to one another should be like family love. It is not, of course, identical to natural family love, but it should be like it. As a result, this brotherly or sibling love should be “kindly affectionate.” It should have the same strength, warmth, and tenderheartedness as the love siblings have for one another. It should be a bond that is not easily broken, just as the bond between siblings is not easily broken.
Further, the sibling love of the Christian community should be love that is willing to honor the other members of the family. Human beings in general deserve a certain amount of honor, simply because they have been made in the image of God. Human beings who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb deserve even greater honor because they have also been included in God’s family. Since God Himself is willing to honor them in this way, we should also honor them accordingly.
One way that siblings can give honor is by giving preference to one another. To give preference is to let others have the best, or let them go first. Paul also said, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself” (Philippians 2:3). This kind of humble preference-giving was exemplified in a profound way by Abraham when he gave Lot the choice of land to settle (Genesis 13:9).
Today and every day, then, let us exhibit the kind of Christian family love that honors by giving preference to one another.