Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Do You Love the Brethren?
What does it mean to “love the brethren”? I sometimes think the best way of defining it is this: you love the brethren when you treat people whom you actually do not like as if you did like them. That is loving them. If you, as a Christian, allow your likes and dislikes to govern your conduct, especially negatively, then you are not behaving as a true Christian. Christians, though they do not like a person, do not allow that to make any difference. They go out of their way to treat that person as if they did like him, because he is a brother and because he is bound by the ties that I shall put before you.
There, then, is the difference between loving and liking. You can be commanded to love but not to like. We are not meant to like everyone in the same way—I mean Christian people—because Christians are not all exactly alike. Our temperaments are not changed when we are born again. There are certain things that are basic and fundamental to our personalities that are not only not changed but are not even meant to be changed. It is a dangerous thing when you find a number of Christian people all alike in every way, in their manner of speech and everything else. That is wrong; that is psychological. Christianity does not do that. You can see the variation in the disciples and the apostles. It is wonderful, and this has continued ever since in the history of the church. As God varies everything in nature, and it all ministers to his glory, so it is with Christian people. We have our different natural gifts and capacities and personalities, and all these remain in the new birth and add a variety and glory to it all. And for that reason it still follows that we do not like everyone equally. But we are told that we are to love everyone equally.
Martyn Lloyd-Jones, “Experiencing the New Birth: Studies in John 3,” pg.124