Bonded | Devotion #5: Brotherly Love
Max Sinclair | Children’s Director
Brotherly love is a term to talk about a love for humanity and compassion for your fellow man. Most would say that brotherly love in a family is always present, that it is never absent, but I can tell you first hand that it is not. My father’s side of the family is that part of the family that most in the church probably do not want to talk about or meet. Most are alcoholics, a few believe, but they are those Christmas and Easter Christians. Growing up my Dad would take us to a few things here and there, but mostly we stayed in Michigan away from the house my dad grew up in Wisconsin. Around October of 2013, I got a phone call from my dad saying that his dad had passed away and the funeral was later that week. Now, I adored my grandfather; he was a smart, diligent, good man who worked hard. When I heard the news, I was broken but held myself together. I got on a plane meeting my parents and sister in Chicago where we drove up to the Green Bay area. As we arrived, I remember that the drinking had already started, my father was angry to be around them, he did not care for this behavior and tried for most of my life to protect my sister and me from it, but as the funeral ended, my father in anger cut his family out of his life. This affected not just them but my view of them. Now I am trying to reach back out, to try to re-establish that lost connection, but it is something that is so very difficult to do.
Brotherly love in a family is what holds us together; it is what keeps us together. We see today so many broken families, and broken homes because we can not see the sanctity of brotherly love, yet brotherly love is not something easy. As I was studying for this lesson, I kept finding myself remembering an old sermon by Pastor Jim Combs. His message was that a sword from a brother is hard to take and that at certain times advice and love from your family is not always what you want to hear. We can see this story played out in 1 Samuel 20:14-15 (CSB) where David, who was not yet king, made a covenant with his predecessor’s son, Jonathan. Even though they were not family, the Bible tells us that they loved each other as they loved themselves.
They loved each other so much that when God’s hand had departed from Saul and came upon David, they still maintained their love and devotion to each other. “If I continue to live show me kindness from the LORD, but if I die, don’t ever withdraw your kindness from my household-not even when the lord cuts off every one of David’s enemies from the face of the earth.” This act of brotherly love is significant because at this time when a new king came to power they would usually kill off all political rivals so that they could consolidate power. Instead of killing Jonathan, David acted with love to his brother and spared him and his house. Saul would later die at the hands of the Philistines along with his son, Jonathan. Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s son, would come to live in David’s house, eat from his table, and be given high honor in the house of David. This is something that we need to exercise in our families today. We need to start looking to help out our family, extend that brotherly love to create a united front from the evil that tries to assail the family every day.