If you have siblings, you might understand what sibling rivalry is. You might even relate to me when I say that my brother and I fought all the time when we were growing up. Thinking back, I can remember a time when he and I were wrestling around on the grass, throwing punches at each other in front of our cousins. When I picture it in my head I laugh because we probably looked so stupid to them! My parents eventually came outside and pulled us apart and reprimanded us for our behavior. No matter how much we got in trouble, we kept on fighting with each other, no holds barred. I hate to say it, but I didn’t like my brother back then and I don’t really know why.
Growing up, I held onto so much pride and it ate away at my soul. I was good at sports and would stand up to any challenge that was offered to me, and most of the time I won the challenge that was placed before me. I was a bully, especially to my brother, and the more I remember about our childhood, the more embarrassed I am about the things I did to him. Once, when I was in seventh grade and he was in sixth, I was passing him in the hallway and the bottom of his bookbag busted open and everything in it fell out. Instead of helping him, I laughed and kept on walking. Of course, he told on me when we got home and I got grounded for my behavior. The punishment was well deserved. I wish I had stopped to help my brother instead of basking in my pride. I’ll bet we would have a better relationship today.
Helping others is a huge part of being a Christian. That’s where the loving your neighbor commandment comes in (Matthew 22:39). Jesus gave us so many examples of helping others because He was all about helping us. If you look at the life He’s given to you, don’t you see so many wonderful blessings? I do! “Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you, do not turn away (Matthew 5:42).” This verse helps me to remember that I don’t always need what I have more than someone else might. Giving is not only good for your soul, but it also casts a blessing unto others.
Have you ever read the Parable of The Good Samaritan in Luke 10:29-37? In this parable, a man from Jerusalem was struck by thieves and beaten to a pulp, they left him naked and half dead, taking everything he had with him. Two people passed by the beaten man, a priest and a Levite. Instead of helping the man, they walked away on the other side of the street. Finally, a good Samaritan came by and put the beaten man on his donkey and took him to the Inn to feed and clothe him. The good Samaritan also paid the Innkeeper to feed and doctor the beaten man until he became well. I was the priest and Levite when I didn’t help my brother. I should’ve been like the good Samaritan instead.
We have a great responsibility as Christians to love God and our neighbor. “Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness (Romans 11:22).” As James said, it is a sin if we know we ought to do good, but don’t do it. But, if we abide by God’s goodness, we will receive goodness from Him. God gave us free-will to choose and we have to remember that we are ambassadors of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The goodness that was given to us on Calvary is the same servitude and goodness we ought to bestow on our neighbor. If I had known this my whole life, I would be close to my brother today. But it’s never too late to start doing good.
If you’re like me and you learned about salvation late in life, just remember that it’s never too late to grow in the goodness of our blessed Savior. He’s constantly serving us and setting the example that we are to follow. Throughout the gospel, we learn only some of the awesome wonders that Jesus did in the lives of people like us. People who were broken and lost. “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden (Matthew 5:14).” Let’s go out and be good ambassadors for God by doing what He did. Let’s go out and lay down our lives for others instead of giving into the prideful mirror of “self.” “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven (Matthew 5:16).”
Father God, thank you for being so good and for loving us, even when we are so unlovable. LORD, I pray that my brother doesn’t hate me for what I did to him when we were growing up. I am so very sorry for being mean and unloving. Thank you for changing my heart and teaching me to put others before myself. You are the epitome of grace and mercy and I so appreciate your forgiveness! Help me to shine Your light before men, so that they might want you too. Teach me to serve and to wash feet, so I can be a good witness for the wonderful things You have done for me. Lord, I pray that the person who needs to read this will know how much you love and want them to be like You and to go out and serve like you do. I ask this in Jesus precious name. Amen!