“Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren…” 1 Peter 3:8 KJV
I was reading about a pastor recently who got upset with his wife soon after they were married. You might remember the time when a husband is trying to find out what it is to be a husband and the wife is seeking to find her role in the marriage. During that transition time it is quite possible for things to not go so well. This pastor now realizes that on that day he got all worked up over nothing. But when it all happened he sternly reprimanded his wife for what had transpired. Even though he knew it was wrong to raise his voice and to speak in a tone that wasn’t exactly kind, he said it was like a volcano erupted from inside of him. After the eruption he was overcome with guilt, so he found a place where he could be alone with the Lord.
It didn’t take the Holy Spirit long to say to him, “Would you speak with that tone of voice to any other woman at the church?” And the pastor’s response? He said, “No, I would never speak to any of the other women in the church the way I just spoke to my wife. Even if they did something very wrong and made me angry, I would treat them with courtesy simply because they are my sisters in Christ”. And then the Holy Spirit answered, “Well, not only is _________ [wife’s name] your wife, she’s your sister in Christ. From this moment forward, even if you are very upset with her, show her the same respect you would show any other sister”. [Sparkling Gems From the Greek by Rick Renner, Teach All Nations [Publisher], 2003, pages 769-770]
WOW – Isn’t this a word we all need to hear? Lucy was my sister in Christ before we got married, and the fact is, she is still my sister in Christ even though we are now joined together as husband and wife. If for no other reason, I should speak to her graciously and with dignity simply out of respect for her as my sister in the Lord. This is exactly what Peter was driving at in his words to husbands and wives in 1 Peter 3. He tells both married partners that they are to “love as brethren”. The Greek word here is from the word Philadelphia. It is a compound of philos meaning “friendship” or “profound love for someone dear” and the word adelphos and adelphia meaning a brother and a sister. So, putting the two words together means to “love as a brother’ or “love as a sister”.
It may seem strange to some that Peter tells husbands and wives to love as brethren. But the fact is, that is the most eternal part of the marriage relationship. For instance, when Lucy and I go to heaven, we will no longer be husband and wife, but will be brother and sister in Christ. During our journey here on earth, we have partnered together as a marital team. I can’t thank God enough for joining me to Lucy in this life in this particular relationship. But our long-term status and our most vital relationship is as a brother and sister in Christ. That aspect of our relationship will last throughout eternity.
During this season when we remember the One who came to earth to lay down His life for His friends [philos], let’s make a new commitment to love that way in our homes – in our church – in our communities. You don’t treat people you are willing to lay down your life for in an unkind way. If I began to see Lucy as someone I will spend eternity with – do you think it will affect the way I treat her today? It also will improve the way I treat you as well.
Will you join me in making this commitment? If you are a male, would you commit to love as a brother-in-Christ? If you are a female, would you commit to love as a sister-in-Christ? This choice has nothing to do with whether others are lovable or are worthy of our love. We are choosing to love, no matter what, as a brother or sister in Christ.
Your Brother – Steve