"Let Brotherly Love Continue"
The above caption is the inspired statement found in Hebrews 13:1. This is a command which should ever be remembered by members of the church. The love that we should have one for the other can hardly be over-emphasized. The question is frequently asked, "How can I feel love for someone which I don't even like?" This question reveals a very wide-spread misconception of precisely what love is. Too many of us can think of love only in terms of some kind of warm, mush, emotional twang of the heart. We think of love as merely a feeling.
Now while it is perfectly true that our love for some people may be accompanied by a warm, emotional response, this is not the kind of love of which the Bible is speaking when it tells us to love one another. Biblical love (agape) takes expression in seeking the welfare or benefit of the other person. It means an interest in that person, without respect to whether he is a close friend or an enemy, or whether he has a pleasing or unpleasing personality. This means, of course, that the Christian must make a great effort to love some people. It is not something that comes naturally – we will have to make ourselves love some people!
William Barclay, in his excellent book, Flesh And Spirit, makes the following comments on this subject which we present for your serious consideration:
"There is one sense in which Christian love differs radically from ordinary human love. Ordinary human love is a reaction of the heart; it is something which simply happens. We use the phrase 'falling in love.' Ordinary human love is something with the creation and dawn of which we have nothing to do. But agape, Christian love, is an exercise of the total personality. It is a state not only of the heart but also of the mind; it is a state not only of the feelings and the emotions but also of the will. It is not something which simply happens and which we cannot help; it is something into which we have to will ourselves. It is not something with which we have nothing to do; it is a conquest and an achievement. It has indeed been said that in t least one of the aspects agape is the ability and the power and the determination to love the people we do not like. It is certainly true that this love is not an easy, sentimental thing; it is not an automatic and unsought emotional response. It is a victory won over self."
Stop right here and read that paragraph over again! Now, take some time to reflection on it........Too few of us have grasped the important truth that we must will ourselves to love the other fellow. Too many of us look at the other person, decide that we don't like something about their appearance or personality and thus shut ourselves off from them completely.
Let each one of us, right now, determine to make a greater effort at loving one another. Let's not wait around until we just "happen to get to like" one another. Let's work at letting "brotherly love continue."