Love for Our Brothers and Sisters
An article specially designed for parents to read with their children
HOW many brothers and sisters do you have? Not everyone has a brother or a sister in his family at home. If you have even one, you can be thankful.
God made us so that we feel especially close to certain people. We may have many friends, but brothers and sisters usually care about one another even more than friends do. When one is in trouble, the other helps out. That’s the kind of brother you would want to have, isn’t it?
But not everyone is good to his brother or his sister. Have you ever seen brothers or sisters fight each other? Do you think it is right to do that? The Bible tells us about a person who hit his brother. Do you know his name? He was Cain, a son of the first man.
One day Cain took some food that he had grown. He made a gift or an offering of this food to Jehovah. His brother Abel also made an offering to Jehovah. Abel offered to God the very best sheep that he had. God was pleased with Abel and with his offering. But he was not pleased with Cain and his offering.
Why was that? It was not because Abel offered the most. And it was not just the kind of offering that made the difference. The Bible tells us that God can see what is in our hearts. He knows how we feel deep inside ourselves. He could see what was in the heart of Cain, and he could see what was in Abel’s heart. What he saw in Cain’s heart was not good.
What did God see in Cain’s heart? He saw that Cain did not really love his brother. When Cain saw that Jehovah was pleased with Abel and his offering, did he try to change so that he would be like his brother? No. He became angry. His face showed that he was angry.
Have you ever felt angry when your brother or sister did something better than you did? We can learn a lesson about this from what happened with Cain and Abel.
Jehovah saw that Cain was angry. So Jehovah said to Cain: ‘Why are you angry with your brother? If you do what is good, I will show favor to you. But if you do not change, sin will get a hold on you and you will do something very bad.’
Did Cain listen to Jehovah? Did he change his thinking? If he had really loved God, he would have paid attention to him. But he did not love God. And he did not love his brother. So, do you know what Cain did?
One day he said to Abel: “Let us go over into the field.” Cain had bad in his heart, but Abel did not know it. So Abel went along with Cain. While they were there in the field alone, Cain hit his brother. He hit him so hard that he killed him. Wasn’t that terrible?—Gen. 4:2-8.
The Bible tells us that there is a special lesson that we should learn from that. Do you know what it is? The apostle John tells us. He says: “This is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should have love for one another; not like Cain, who originated with the wicked one.” (1 John 3:11, 12) So brothers and sisters should have love for one another. They should not be like Cain.
Why would it be so bad to be like Cain? Because the Bible says that he “originated with the wicked one.” Who is the wicked one? The main wicked one is the Devil. Cain acted like the Devil. The Devil does bad things to people. Cain was just the same as the Devil is. So the Bible says that it was just as if the Devil were his father. Think of that!
Do you see why it is so important to love your brothers and sisters? If you do not love them, whose child would you be? You would be a child of the Devil. You wouldn’t want to be that, would you? So how can you prove that you want to be a child of God? It is by really loving your brothers and sisters.
But what is love? Love is a deep feeling inside us that makes us want to do good things for other people. We show that we love others when we have a good feeling toward them. We show it when we do good things for them.
The Bible says, “God is love.” (1 John 4:8) God is always doing good things for people. God made the beautiful earth for us to live on. He gives us the sunshine and the rain. Even before we loved God, God loved us. We can learn from this. Even before others do good to us, we can do good to them. We can love them first.
Jesus was the Great Teacher, and he was like that. He had brothers and sisters. The names of some of them were Joseph, James and Simon. Were they always kind to him? No, it does not seem so. They may have been among Jesus’ relatives who said about him: “He has gone out of his mind.” They made fun of Jesus.—Mark 3:21.
But did Jesus let anger grow in his heart for his brothers and sisters? No, he did not. He showed love for them. And do you know what the result was? These brothers came to love Jesus, and they became his disciples. Isn’t that fine?—Acts 1:14.
Now they were Jesus’ brothers in a very special sense. You see, the Bible says that Christians have many more brothers and sisters than just those who live in the same house with them. Do you know who they are? Jesus said: ‘Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister.’ (Matt. 12:50) That means that all who do God’s will are brothers and sisters in the faith. They are a special family of brothers and sisters. Did you know that?
Do you love all the brothers and sisters in this big Christian family? Jesus said that we should. He said: ‘Everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.’ (John 13:35) We cannot love just a few of them. We must love all of them. If we love them, we won’t stay away from them because we don’t want to talk to them. We will be friendly to all of them. We will always do good to them. If ever they are in trouble, we will come to their help, because we are truly a big family.
When we really do love all our brothers and sisters, what does it prove? It shows that we are disciples of Jesus, the Great Teacher. And isn’t that what we want to be?
“If anyone makes the statement: ‘I love God,’ and yet is hating his brother, he is a liar. For he who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot be loving God, whom he has not seen.”—1 John 4:20