Am I My Brother's Keeper?

Let brotherly love continue... Hebrews 13:1 I have four grandsons.  They are the darling-est little guys!  I learn so much from them -- about fun, love, life, human nature, and language development (I'm an English teacher).  Above all, through them I learn about our Heavenly Father and how He relates to us His children in the family of God.

Now these little guys come in two's, two sets of brothers.

I've told stories about them in various blogs.  This time I'd like to tell two stories about one set of the brothers -- stories that encourage me in my relationship with my brothers and sisters in Christ.

"The Interpreter" -- Understanding Each Other

One day, I was driving Evan and Carter home after spending time with them at my house.

Carter says from his car seat in the back, "Babci (my Polish grandma name), where we goin?"

Me:  "I'm taking you home, hon'."

Carter:  "I don't wanna go home!"

Me:  "Daddy will be home soon!"

Carter:  "Daddy?  I wuv him!"

Carter (again):  "I wanna go animal wode!"

Me:  "Animal Road?"

Carter:  "No! animal wode!"

I repeat:  "Animal Road?"  Then back and forth a couple of times.

Finally tears...so I turn to the family interpreter, Evan.

Me:  "Evan, what is Carter saying?"

Evan: "He means 'Shade Wode'."

Me:  "Shade Road?"

Evan: "NO! Shade Wode!"

I repeat:  "Shade Road?"  Now Evan is in tears, which is very unlike him.  So I figured I just threw him over the edge!

Me:  "Evan, hon', use different words, like you usually do, to explain what Carter is saying."  This is the amazing thing Evan has done for a long time.  He rarely gets frustrated if I don't understand what he is saying.  He patiently uses synonyms...do you believe it!

Evan:  "You know, it's by the Nike store far away."

Me: "I still don't know...Animal wode?  Shade wode?  What is 'wode'?"

Evan:  "You know, Babci, 'He's got the whole wode in His Hands'!"

I laughed and then cried!  Here the first thing this sweet little 4 year old thought of to explain the word "world"  was a song he had learned about his Creator God.

Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies, you have prepared praise. Matthew 21:16

By the way, the place Carter wanted to go to was "Traders World" (a huge, crazy flea market) with the statues of animals on the roof...thus "Animal Wode"

"The Evangelist" -- Caring for Each Other

About a week ago, the boys were at my house.  I had saved them a cool ad from a party store, showing every costume imaginable and desirable to a 3 & 4 year old.  But I couldn't find it.  So Evan, Carter, and Babci proceeded to search every room to see where I had put it -- to no avail!  Finally as a last resort...I prayed!  "Jesus, please find the ad!"

Carter:  "Babci, Jesus isn't here!"

Me:  " Oh, hon', He is!  That's the beautiful thing...Jesus is everywhere."

Evan steps in:  "Carter,  you know where ELSE he is?"  Evan very dramatically points to inside his little chest! "You need to get him in YOU.  You need to pray!"

Then to me, Evan says:  "Carter doesn't have Him!"

So I pick up Carter and put him on my lap, thinking this is the time to start explaining the gospel to little Carter.  Maybe little C is ready to "pray the sinner's prayer."

I begin telling him that inside his body is his real person, his heart.   He can ask Jesus to forgive his sins and come into His heart.

Carter, "Inside my belly [pointing]?  Inside my bottom [pointing again with a giggle]?

I figure by this time, things are deteriorating.  So I turn to Evan, "I don't think Carter is ready yet...we need to pray for him !"

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:1-4

By the way, we did find the ad.  Carter said to me, "In your purse, Babci?"  Sure enough!

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The parents of both of these sets of brothers desire that these little guys grow up to be "best buds." And they seem to be well on their way!  But that doesn't always seem to be happening when kids are growing up!

Trust me, I know!  I'm the oldest of 7 and always wished I were an only child...like the time, my youngest sister Nancy threatened to run away from home, and I was helping her pack!  But today each of us would DIE for the other...truly!  Why?  Because we belong to each other...we are in the same blood line, the same family!

And isn't that our Abba Father's desire for us His children...that we would be devoted to one another ("best buds," so to speak), no matter how much we disagree and even dislike each other?  We are in the same blood line, the same family!

The way we know we've been transferred from death to life is that we love our brothers and sisters. Anyone who doesn't love is as good as dead. Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know very well that eternal life and murder don't go together. This is how we've come to understand and experience love: Christ sacrificed his life for us. This is why we ought to live sacrificially for our fellow believers, and not just be out for ourselves! 1John 3:14-16 MESSAGE

We have a connection with each other that can't be broken, whether we like it or not!  It's a connection as deep as union with each other in the Triune God!  Just as in a human family, the primary connection a child has is with the parents (and thus with each other), so too in the family of God.  Listen to how Jesus prayed the night before He died:

I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that THEY also may be IN US, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.  The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. John 17:20-23

As I've been meditating on my union with Christ and my brothers and sisters, I've revisited what are called the One another verses.  Maybe you would like to join me in revisiting them, or perhaps visiting them for the first time.  Then if you care to, pray with me:

Father, empower me through the indwelling Christ, Your Perfect Son, to love my brothers and sisters.  Love them through me.  Understand them through me.  Care about their spiritual, emotional, physical welfare through me, O God.  In Christ's Loving Name.  Amen!

John 13:14 "If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.John 13:34 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

John 13:35 " By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

John 15:12 "This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.

John 15:17 "This I command you, that you love one another.

Acts 7:26 " On the following day he appeared to them as they were fighting together, and he tried to reconcile them in peace, saying, 'Men, you are brethren, why do you injure one another?'

Acts 15:39 And there occurred such a sharp disagreement that they separated from one another, and Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus.

Romans 12:5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

Romans 12:10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;

Romans 12:16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly Do not be wise in your own estimation.

Romans 13:8 Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.

Romans 14:5 One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind.

Romans 14:13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this-- not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother's way.

Romans 14:19 So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.

Romans 15:5 Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus,

Romans 15:7 Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.

Romans 15:14 And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another.

Romans 16:16 Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.

1 Corinthians 6:7 Actually, then, it is already a defeat for you, that you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded?

1 Corinthians 7:5 Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

1 Corinthians 11:33 So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.

1 Corinthians 12:25 so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.

1 Corinthians 16:20 All the brethren greet you. Greet one another with a holy kiss.

2 Corinthians 13:12 Greet one another with a holy kiss.

Galatians 5:13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Galatians 5:15 But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.

Galatians 5:17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.

Galatians 5:26 Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.

Galatians 6:1 Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.

Galatians 6:2 Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:4 But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another.

Ephesians 4:2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love,

Ephesians 4:25 Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.

Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

Ephesians 5:19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;

Ephesians 5:21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.

Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;

Colossians 3:9 Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices,

Colossians 3:13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

1 Thessalonians 3:12 and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people, just as we also do for you;

1 Thessalonians 4:9 Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another;

1 Thessalonians 4:18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:13 and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another.

1 Thessalonians 5:15 See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people.

2 Thessalonians 1:3 We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater;

Titus 3:3 For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.

Hebrews 3:13 But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

Hebrews 10:24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,

Hebrews 10:25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

James 4:11 Do not speak against one another, brethren He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it.

James 5:9 Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door.

James 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

1 Peter 1:22 Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart,

1 Peter 4:8 Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.

1 Peter 4:9 Be hospitable to one another without complaint.

1 Peter 4:10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

1 Peter 5:5 You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.

1 Peter 5:14 Greet one another with a kiss of love Peace be to you all who are in Christ.

1 John 1:7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.

1 John 3:11 For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another;

1 John 3:23 This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.

1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.

1 John 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

1 John 4:12 No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.

2 John 1:5 Now I ask you, lady, not as though I were writing to you a new commandment, but the one which we have had from the beginning, that we love one another.