For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
II Peter 1:5-8
Peter describes the importance of pursuing godly character such as self-control, perseverance, brotherly kindness, and love. He identifies that these qualities in increasing measure will keep us from becoming ineffective and unproductive in our Christian walk. Peter sought to strengthen the persecuted church by issuing a call to Christian growth. He emphasized the need for love and kindness as we deal with people.
Paul describes brotherly love in his letter to the Romans: Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.
Honor one another above yourselves. (Romans 12:9-10) Paul understood the need for Christians to live in harmony with one another. (v.16) He speaks to us throughout the ages as we are called to reflect the character of Christ.
Brothers and sisters in Christ are called to deal with conflict differently than the world. In Matthew 18, Jesus gives us a model to follow when we confront someone. He tells His disciples to first go to the brother who has sinned and confront him one on one. If he does not listen, go back again with a witness, and then to the church if the issue is not resolved. It takes maturity and spiritual character to lovingly confront someone and discipline to take the steps as described by Jesus to resolve the conflict. It is sometimes easier and certainly quicker to skip the steps and go straight to others to straighten things out. I think that Jesus gave us these steps so that we could grow in His character as we pursue God’s way to handle difficult situations.
Are you faced with conflict in a relationship? Remember that the Lord is calling you to grow in brotherly love by practicing self-control and kindness. As you possess these qualities in increasing measure, you will be more effective and productive in your witness to others of the love of Christ. Consider following the steps in Scripture towards reconciliation. As you pursue God’s ways, you will reflect Him and others will be drawn to Him as well.
Help me to reflect the character of Christ as I deal with people with whom I am in conflict.
I pray that I will possess the qualities of Christ in increasing measure and become an effective witness for Christ.
In Jesus’ name, Amen