loving all the time,
and is a brother
that is born for when there is distress."
But how do we identify a true companion? Christ Jesus set us the example to
follow. He said: "This is my
commandment, that you should
love one another just as I have loved you.
No one has love greater than this, that someone should surrender his soul in
behalf of his friends. You are my friends if you do
what I am commanding you." (John 15:12-14). It therefore follows that
if anyone says: ""I love God," and yet is hating his
brother, he is a liarů And this commandment
we have from him, that the one who loves God should
be loving his brother also." (1 John 4:20,21).
Christ also said:
"If there is this love among you, then all will know that you are my disciples."
(John 13:35 NEB). So the first requirement is that we must love God by
obeying His commandments through The Christ. Only then may we truly be
Christ's disciples and companions to our brothers in the faith.
A TRUE COMPANION: "LOVING ALL THE TIME".
How does a true companion show love? The apostle Paul wrote:
"Love is patient;
love is kind and
envies no one. Love is never boastful, nor conceited, nor rude; never selfish,
not quick to take offence. Love keeps no score of wrongs; does not gloat over
other men's sins, but delights in the truth.
There is nothing love cannot face; there is no limit to its faith, its hope, and
its endurance." (1 Cor 13:4-7
NEB). In order that we live at peace with one another, we are urged to
the careless, encourage
the faint-hearted, support
the weak, and to be very patient
with them all. See to it that no one pays back wrong for wrong, but always
aim at doing the best you can for each other
and for all men." (1 Thess 5:14,15
A BROTHER: "BORN FOR WHEN THERE IS DISTRESS."
But how may we be a brother "born for when there
is distress"? Distress can take many forms. It can be extreme pain
or suffering, sorrow or misfortune, a want of money or necessities. The apostle
James wrote: "If a brother or a sister is in a naked
state and lacking the food sufficient for the day, yet a certain one of you says
to them: "Go in peace, keep warm and well fed," but you do not give them the
necessities for their body, of what benefit is it?" (James 2:15,16).
It follows then that
"if a man has enough to live on, and yet
when he sees his brother in need shuts up his heart against him,
how can it be said
that love for God dwells in him?"
(1 John 3:17 NEB & footnote). Therefore, if we see a brother or a sister in
need, we must help them as we would our own natural brothers and sisters.
How may one identify false friends? Well, they may be all smiles when you
are happy, but "turn against you when trouble comes".
They may "desert you in time of trouble",
and betray your confidences. But
"the betrayer of secrets
loses his credit and can never find an intimate friend. Love your friend and
keep faith with him, but if you betray his secrets, keep out of his way".
(See Ecclesiasticus 6:8, 37:4 & 27:16,17 NEB)
our common life in Christ yields anything to stir the heart,
any loving consolation, any sharing of the Spirit, any warmth of affection or
compassion, fill up my cup of happiness by thinking and feeling alike,
with the same love for one another, the same turn of mind,
and a common care for unity."
(Phil 2:1,2 NEB).
C. B. Thomas.
1986 & 12/11/11.