Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Be Nice to Your Brother

When my two oldest grandsons were younger, they loved to torment one another: A poke here, a kick there, and a headlock for good measure. While they spent some time at my house, I had a mantra for them, “Be nice to your brother.” That helped them remember to be kinder… most of the time. Today they’ve outgrown that stage and are very close even though they occasionally give one another an “affectionate” poke or kick.

We adults generally don’t torment one another with kicks, pokes, or headlocks. We use something much more harmful: words. An unkind word here, a sarcastic tone there, and some backbiting gossip for good measure. Sometimes our human nature asserts itself and we just aren’t too nice to one another.

When the Pharisees questioned Jesus about which commandments were the greatest, He answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind….And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (Matthew 22:37 &38 NIV). I’m sure every one of us is guilty of those verbal pokes and kicks to our neighbors and to our spiritual brothers and sisters in Christ. Fortunately for us, Jesus will forgive us. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”  With His assistance we can follow the second greatest commandment and love one another.

Lord, forgive my unkind pokes and teach me how to be nice to my brothers.

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