Funny how the only available images to share on my Bible app for this verse only include the first part, “a friend loves at all times.” It’s human nature for us to cling to certain things and ignore other things that are said in God’s Word. I’m blessed to have the kind of friends who live at all times. I haven’t lived a perfect life. I can be difficult especially when I’m tired and worn out. So what about the rest of this verse? I lived it just this week in multi housing ministry! An older brother tried hard to provoke his younger brother, anything to get a rise out of him. Our sinful nature within us relishes in moments like these where we gain a little bit of satisfaction from irritating our brother. Why don’t we shed light on the rest of this verse? We all live this at one time or another whether it’s with a sibling, a fellow student or someone in our workplace.
Irritating someone for our own satisfaction is sinful. It’s not loving at all times like we read at the beginning of this verse. Our culture does not glorify confession or apology. They see that as weakness when ironically this is great strength!
I once knew brothers who were estranged from one another for over a decade. Their mother was badly emotionally beaten over this. This had gone on so long they couldn’t even recall why they decided they hated each other in the first place. I was there the day they reconciled. It was in a worship service and tears flowed. I cried too and I’m not even in their family! Tears of joy swept over that little church family and healing began. It was a holy moment.
It’s normal for siblings to get irritated with one another. Why? We know each other better than anyone else. Think about the sibling rivalries we read about in the Bible: Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, Joseph and his brothers and this list goes on and on!
Sibling adversaries and rivalries shouldn’t shock us as they’ve been happening for thousands of years! If we consider ourselves believers we ought not participate in these behaviors no matter where we are. The deepest pains can come from our families when we become hurt by those who we expect should love us unconditionally. Only God has the capacity to love perfectly.
Believers, we are to be like God as much as we can, walking in faith towards that great prize and gift God has in store for us. What a day that will be! We will spend eternity together and the real adversary, the one who strives to keep us away from our faith will be dealt with once and for all! No more pain, no more conflict, no more tiredness, no more sickness. We don’t even know what this is like! Is it worth fighting for! Yes it is! How do we fight? We learn self-control; we discipline ourselves. We apologize. We accept apologies and we reconcile in Jesus name. We gain the strength to do these things not from within ourselves but from the strength and wisdom God gives us. Disconnected from God I’m not capable of any of this. Today we can choose to further wound or reconcile. What will it be? Are you a warrior or a pipsqueak in the Kingdom of God? This is how we live in peace. This is how we can be a friend who loves at all times, even a friend to our sibling! Or maybe a brother is born to help walk us through adversity and not to be adversity?