Brotherly Love in Christian Relationships

Romans 12:10

Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love,

in honor giving preference to one another; (NKJV)

Love each other as Christian brothers. Show respect for each other. (NLV)

Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. (NIV)


Oftentimes, Christian relationships fail due to a lack of understanding, not because of differences of opinion as many Christians tend to think.  If God’s children can get beyond their misunderstandings of others, it will be easier for Christian kindliness to flow.  Three main reasons for misunderstanding others are described below:


(1) Selfishness. As Paul spoke of “brotherly love,” he is telling us that as Christians, we should love others as we should love our natural brothers and sisters because Christians are one family in Christ. It doesn’t matter what our backgrounds are, or our nationality, occupation, education, wealth, hair color, skin color, etc. All of this is irrelevant and doesn’t matter to God as He doesn’t see any of it and therefore, we shouldn’t see it either.  When Paul said “honor and give preference to others above yourselves,” he was telling us that we shouldn’t wait for someone to recognize our contributions and give us praise, but we should recognize others’ contributions and praise them first.


(2) Fear.  Prejudice often results from a fear of what people are not willing to try to gain an understanding about. As humans, we tend to compare what we think we may know with what we don’t understand.  God gives us the option of opening our minds and growing, or rejecting new or different things, and therefore allowing our minds to remain the same and not grow.  We need to try to understand and accept others’ differences and viewpoints in order to build better Christian relationships.  


(3) Differences. It takes more than one color to make a rainbow and one musician to make an orchestra.  We need to take time to appreciate the differences in our Christian brothers and sisters and we will discover we all share the similar hopes and fears.  The most common problems of getting people to accept others’ differences are “gift envy” (comparing our talents with others and feeling inferior) and “gift-projection” (expecting others to feel equally passionate about something we do). American President Harry Truman said, “When we understand the other fellow’s viewpoint and what he’s trying to do, nine times out of ten he’s just trying to do right.”