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Q3. Love for the Brothers

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 What does it mean to "lay down your life for your brothers"? What are some concrete examples of this kind of love in action within the Christian community? If you are in a large congregation, how can you get to know other members so you'll be able to lay down your life for them -- and they for you?

I've never seen any Christian lay down his life, even metaphorically, for another Christian. Is that not sad?  Christians tend to do what they've always done and makes them feel comfortable: bake a casserole and bring it to the sick, give a bit of money to others, go on a half-work missions trip, etc. 

But lay down their life? No.

This makes me think about my own relationships with people at church.  I'm in a new church so don't know many other people. I'm also shy.  It's the first time in my adult life I've been single, so I tend to hide in the back, away from people. From there, I watch what's going on.

The acts of love they have toward each other are often subtle: cards and notes, texts and emails, calls and even neighbourly drop-ins with a baked good. 

I think, no matter where we are in life, there's some way to show love. In my case, I'm caring for my atheist father as he dies. I hope I'm doing it in love. This is what God has given me to do, and though I don't like it, I'm doing it obediently, though I grumble a lot. God has shut doors of escape, so I know I'm supposed to care for him as well as attend the new church (which is nothing like the dead church I used to go to). I have NO IDEA, however, why God has me here or what I'm supposed to be doing. Everyday I get up and ask God to make the day worthwhile for Him. I pray that this is a time of preparation, that in the future God will call me to a bigger life. But in the interim, I'm here with an old man attending a little Pentecostal church (I used to be Anglican!), and in this church, I  see love in little things members of this church do for each other. It makes me smile.

One thing I've noticed, here, is how many people miss the mark in their loving-giving. Rather than give what is needed, they give in ways familiar. But if a person needs his rent paid, that's what we should do!  If a person needs a break from difficult children, that's what we should do.  We shouldn't deliver meals to people who need rent, or send cards to people who need real-life relief.

One thing I do, because I can do it while caring for my father, is write a blog about the serious doubts and questions I have in faith. This little blog hasn't exactly gone viral, but many people read it. Is this an act of love?  I don't know because I have no idea who reads the blog.  I'm writing into the void, asking God to bring the eyes to it that need to read it and to give me the right words for them.

Regarding the future, we'll see how God wants me to love others. At one point in my life -- certainly not now! -- I was a wealthy woman married to a Jew who was dead-set against Christians. Now, I'm glad to be divorced, but praying to be wealthy again because it's one area of my character that has proven strong. I don't not need to live conspicuously, and am eager to give money away anonymously. I pray God gives me this opportunity and a godly man as a husband.





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  • 1 month later...
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Krissi... it is unfortunate that what you say is true. But, Jesus did tell his followers that you have to find him by following the narrow path. He was speaking to those who already were following him so when he says few will find the path, I think that means few followers will actually encounter the living Jesus on a regular basis. Please don't confuse this with those who have accepted Jesus for we all are at different points in our journey, but, to make him Lord over everything in our lives, to seek to embrace his presence and experience his kingdom frequently, it takes both courage and help from the Holy Spirit to overcome our own brokenness. Part of the journey is to learn to really hear his voice AND do what he's telling us. Too many times I hear... If Jesus would just make what he wants of me clear, I'll be glad to follow. I think too often it's because we don't hear what we want to hear. To lay down one's life is to elevate my neighbors life and needs above my own. Giving out of our abundance that God has blessed us with rarely leads to a heart change. But giving when it means I must change my own living condition and/or experience, that will lead to a heart change and can only really be done with the help of the Holy Spirit. Don't be discouraged by what you see around you. Be encouraged by daily/frequently seeking to experience his presence through worship, prayer, fasting, scriptures and texts. The more we learn his words and understand his ways, we become in tune with him and that allows us to do his works.

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(1 John 3:16-18) What does it mean to "lay down your life for your brothers"?    Not just using your words to allay someone’s hardship, but to act and provide tangible assets (of kindness) to the other person. 

What are some concrete examples of this kind of love in action within the Christian community?    Providing shelter to someone that is homeless.  Paying the transportation fare for someone that must be somewhere, but doesn’t have the means to pay.  Of course the ultimate sacrifice is to defend someone from being harmed (stopping a crime in progress), even of the result could be injury or death to oneself.

If you are in a large congregation, how can you get to know other members so you'll be able to lay down your life for them -- and they for you?    As with any group opportunity, listen carefully, then find common ground between you and a few of the members.  Use this information to forge relationships.  Build these relationships by again listening to their needs and interests.  An appropriate situation may then arise where your tangible help is needed.

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