“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue;
and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance;
and to temperance patience, and to patience godliness;
And to godliness brotherly kindness…” II Peter 1:5-7a
Kindness is generally easy to show to others in general. On the other hand, it can take more effort to show it to people we know well—like our biological and spiritual siblings. However, brotherly kindness is another characteristic that God instructed us to diligently add to our faith. It may seem impossible to show this type of kindness, but God wouldn’t ask us to do it if it couldn’t be done. So, how do we obey His instruction?
We have to get over returning unkindness for unkindness. When we get to know people more personally, difficulties arise and it can be difficult to express kindness to difficult people. The closer we get to others, the more we know, and the more we know, the more we learn what we like and dislike. Relationships allow us to get to know strengths, weaknesses, faults, attitudes and behaviors that may bring out the best or worst in us. If someone is unkind, we may have a tendency to want to return the “blessing.”
I regret to admit that I’ve not always been kind to my brothers. (In my defense, they are “boys” and boys can be kinda ruff, tuff and gruff. Just saying.) I’m a “gurly-gurl” who is too emotionally sensitive. Bless their hearts. They don’t get me. I’m the older sister but they don’t appreciate bossiness, nosiness, motherliness or emotional neediness from me, and I can’t blame them. Being a sibling doesn’t mean we’re required to see eye-to-eye on everything. However, no matter what differences or disagreements we’ve had, or how unkind we’ve behaved toward one another, three things have remained…we’re family, we love each other, and we try to stick together. That’s what siblings do.
Treat Others Like Brothers
Kindness is one thing. Brotherly kindness is something a little different. It’s kindness shown to a family member as seen in II Peter 1:7a. The Greek definition for “brotherly” refers to “fraternal affection” which involves brothers. Kindness, as found in this passage, is defined as, “usefulness in manner or morals—gentle and good.”
This is how we have to treat our physical and spiritual siblings—with a gentle and good affection. We have to:
- Love Them
- Tolerate Them
- Forgive Them
- Help Them
- Repeat as Needed
Adding this brotherly kindness to our faith helps us grow in our relationships. It gives us the ability to love unconditionally and attend family cookouts without World War III breaking out and setting fireworks off before dark.
Before we respond to others, we need to remember—when we see the real them for who they really are, they see us too. We don’t have to like everything about everybody and not everyone will agree on everything. Fortunately, that isn’t necessary to be kind.
Brotherly kindness makes a wonderful addition to our faith. It lets people know that we love them, and God, our Creator, loves them too. So, let’s pick up another rose and add it to our vase. We can never have enough roses or kindness.
“Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love;
in honour preferring one another.” Romans 12:10
Bring It Home
Do we need to add some brotherly kindness to our faith or share what we have with someone we know?
I’ll answer for me first…”Yes to both.”
Praying for you as we grow together,