By Larry Ray Hafley
“Let brotherly love continue” (Heb. 13:1). In some places, this passage cannot be obeyed. It must be preceded by admonitions to “let brotherly love begin,” for it obviously cannot “continue” where it has not yet begun!
Is this such a place? God forbid! However, all the bickering, backbiting, all the strife and division, in some places tells us that “brotherly love” is in short supply or is on back order. (1) Envy and jealousy are at the root of much of the contention that exists among God’s people. When men resent the money, honor, talent, ability, or success of another, bitter gossip will soon begin. (2) Pride kindles the fires of ungodly, unloving words and deeds. Pretentious, proud men feel imaginary slights and are wounded by arrows that have never been shot. Such men cannot be reasoned with, for every earnest appeal is regarded as another “attack.” (3) Laziness and indifference are the mother of hateful attitudes and the father of slanders. Those who do the least, gripe and grumble the most. They do nothing to advance the cause of Christ. They teach no one. They encourage no one. They invite no one. They assist no one. Their idleness gives rise to negative thoughts, to whining words of complaint, and to vicious deeds which will undermine peace, unity, and love.
In every church that is torn apart by a lack of brotherly love, look around, and you will see envy, jealousy, pride, laziness, and indifference. They are the agents of confusion and contention. Brotherly love cannot begin, nor will it continue, where these things abound. They are poison to the soul and destroyers.