A. Brother

"Don't be like Cain, 
who belonged to the evil one
and murdered his brother."
1 John 3:12

In my dream last night, I struggled underwater with a young man I knew to be my brother.  I don't have a brother, but like many dreams, that reality was suspended.  We were fighting furiously, frothing up the deep green in our rage.

He struck me, and I struck him.  We wrestled, and I noticed a speargun in his hand, and it was pointed at my heart.  With a quick grab my hand went to the trigger, and held his fingers back.  In my fury, I was stronger.  My arms gradually turned the long, thin weapon around toward him.  It was pointed at his neck, and, though running out of air in my lungs, I jerked his finger on the steel curved piece that would release the sharp spear, and it suddenly leaped out of the tube, and pierced him, impaling his neck.  He looked at me, and his eyes held fear and regret.

He floated, his arms stretched out, and we both surfaced.  My anger still held me, and I twisted the spear, trying to make sure it did its work, and he just looked at me.  No sense of guilt pervaded my conscious, but only a satisfaction that he would never bother me again, and my mind plotted ways in which I would make this look like an accident.

In the small lake, nobody else was around.  I brought him to shore, and used his cellphone on the beach to call an emergency vehicle.  "My brother has been in a scuba accident," I lied, "can you come right away?"  I tried to put urgency in my voice.

At that point I woke, and with a sense of regret and sadness that was profound.

"What did you mean by this, Lord?"  I asked.  And He immediately gave me the Scripture above.

Brothers and sisters:

We must love those who love Christ, and not hate them.  We must not hurt or cause grief to our brothers and sisters.  Scripture teaches us that to love your brother is not optional, but is the most important "Mark of the Christian", as Francis Schaeffer wrote in his profound essay on love.

"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us.  And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers."  1 John 3:16

This issue is the most important of our day.  Many of us claim Christ, yet walk in darkness because we hate and want to murder our brothers.  John was writing to this problem in the early ekklesia of God, which afflicts us today, too.

If we claim to know God, and to have the gospel, yet walk around with anger and rage and even hatred in our hearts;  if we think of our brother as a fool;  if we look down upon others;  if we harbor envy and selfish ambition in our hearts toward one another, then we are not living in the Light.  Christ is love, the Father is love, and the Spirit in us He gives us is full of love for others.

So today, we must pass this test, or know, as I knew with grief and sadness in my terrible dream, that we are full of wrong, and the old man of sin and hate is still in control.  We must put that man to death, and in the power of the Spirit be resurrected to the New Man, who is full of Christ's love today.  This is the working of God's mighty power in us, the mightiest work in the universe.  No work of God is more powerful, because hatred runs so deep in the human family.

Love in Christ today to all, and my His love grip and empower us.

Your brother,
A. Brother


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