Have Love for the Whole Association of Brothers
1 “If you were part of the world, the world would be fond of what is its own. Now because you are no part of the world . . . the world hates you.” (John 15:19) With those words Jesus Christ told his followers about one of the problems in life that Christians would face, namely, the hatred of the world under the influence and control of Satan the Devil. History bears out the truth of those words. That hatred was expressed in all its fury against Jesus who was impaled at the hands of those of “the world” under the direction of Satan. And it has been expressed since that time against the followers of Jesus earth wide right down to our present generation.
2 Since there would be this intense hatred from the world, it can readily be appreciated that when Jesus gave the commandment to his disciples to love one another it would take on great meaning in their lives. In fact, Jesus said: “By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love among yourselves.” (John 13:35) The need for this love becomes more and more apparent, living, as we are, deep in the time of the end.
3 Due to our imperfection there may be times when we fail to express love for our brothers. There may be differences in personality, individual likes and dislikes, differences in cultural background, and so on. When we encounter such differences we need to consider seriously the race for life into which all of us as followers of Christ have entered. While it is easy to find weaknesses and imperfections in our brothers, if we have the mind of Christ we will look to find their strong points, those areas in life where they are striving to exhibit faith and godly works. We will recognize that we, too, have certain traits that are not necessarily admired by others, and yet we want understanding of our weaknesses.
4 Paul, in Colossians 3:13, 14, said this: “Continue putting up with one another and forgiving one another freely if anyone has a cause for complaint against another. Even as Jehovah freely forgave you, so do you also. But, besides all these things, clothe yourselves with love, for it is a perfect bond of union.” We need to remember that a spiritual person is distinguished by his readiness to demonstrate love toward his brothers, “putting up with” them.
WAYS TO SHOW LOVING CONCERN
5 As spiritual persons we can seek ways to show our love for the whole association of brothers. One of the primary steps required is to get acquainted with them, come to know something of their background, personality and way of life. Try to understand why they say and do things in a certain way.
6 It is also good to find ways to share with them in some form of the preaching and disciple-making work. Working with them from door to door and in other features of the ministry, seeing their zeal for Jehovah, perhaps understanding some of the problems they may face in sharing in certain service activity—all of this will enhance our Christian love and concern for them. In this way we will also have opportunity to exchange experiences, the joys, the problems encountered in doing the Kingdom work as part of the earth-wide association of brothers. Thus we can come to enjoy an interchange of encouragement.—Rom. 1:11, 12.
7 And there is the opportunity at times to visit with others, inviting them to our home, if possible, or going to their home. The more we come to appreciate the common work and service we all share together as brothers, the more we will come to have love for the whole association of brothers and care for one another.
8 This broadened view will promote unity and cooperation in the congregation. When others visit, or newly interested ones attend our meetings, they will be impressed by the warmth of loving consideration that all have for each other. Seeing this will be of assistance to them in coming out of the world, a world that will hate them for leaving it in favor of association with those who have found the true faith.
9 How comforting and heartwarming it is to be able to say: ‘Yes, this world hates me, even as Jesus said, but my brothers, the whole association of them earth wide, love me and I love them.’ How grateful we can be for that! By examining our own love for our brothers we can see where there is need for improvement so that in deed and in truth all will know we are disciples of the Master, Jesus Christ.