|My Brother's Keeper||Lester Bauman|
Brotherhood is about people -- the people who make up your congregation, and mine. It is about accepting people and helping people. It is about allowing people to help us. It is about loving people -- even the ones we almost wish we could hide when visitors come to church. It is about realizing that each brother and sister in the congregation is someone special -- a gift of God to our congregation.
The body of Christ is made up of people -- real people with real weaknesses (and real strengths, though we may not always notice them). When we reject any of these people, we reject Christ. To remain in the body of Christ, we must learn brotherhood.
That is what this book is all about.
193 pages. Paperback. Rod and Staff Publishers.
Published in 2004.
Relationship attitudes are an important factor in maintaining brotherhood in the Christian community. You cannot legislate brotherhood; it is totally dependent on the personal convictions and attitudes of each member. You cannot don brotherhood as you would a suit of clothing. If you do not have it in your heart, you do not have it, no matter what you wear or what you say.
Poor relationships in the congregation are almost always the result of a lack of brotherhood. If brotherhood is faltering in a congregation, it will almost always surface first in a breakdown of the relationship attitudes.
Humility is one of the most difficult of the brotherhood attitudes to cultivate. It is totally opposed to our natural inclinations. Eve ate the forbidden fruit because she wanted more prestige. We almost automatically seek the same. But the humble Christian is more concerned about his brother's success and prestige than he is about his own.
Humility takes a lot of the tension out of church life. If we are not worried about our prestige, we do not have to fight to maintain it. We can be much more relaxed when we teach a Sunday school class. We do not need to be embarrassed or offended if our thought is shot down by someone else. It does not need to bother us if we "lose" the election for Sunday school superintendent. We can honestly rejoice at the good thought a brother shares, or the position he is asked to fill.
If I am humble, my brother is no longer a threat to me. Since I have no prestige to maintain, I do not need to worry that my brother will undercut it. I am free to love him, no matter what!
Paul wrote the Book of Galatians to counteract the idea that Gentile believers should follow the Old Testament Law in order to find Christian perfection. Paul told the Galatians that they had been called to liberty, not to the bondage of the Law. However, Paul must also have realized that his words could easily be misinterpreted (as they often are today). He added a qualifier: "Do not use your liberty as an excuse to sin. Use it to serve your brother."