Friday, December 19, 2008

HINDRANCES TO BROTHERLY LOVE

Arthur W. Pink (1886-1952)
THE root hindrance to the exercise of brotherly love is self-love. [This means] to be so occupied with number one that the interests of others are lost sight of. In Proverbs 30:15, we read, "The horse leach hath two daughters, crying, Give, give." This repulsive creature has two forks in her tongue, which she employs for gorging herself in the blood of her unhappy victim. Spiritually, the "horse leach" represents self-love and her two daughters are self-righteousness and self-pity. As the horse leach is never satisfied, often continuing to gorge itself until it bursts, so self-love is never contented, crying "Give, give." All the blessings and mercies of God are perverted by making them to minister unto self. Now the antidote for this evil spirit is for the heart to be engaged with the example that Christ has left us. He came not to be ministered unto, but to minister unto others. He pleased not Himself, but ever "went about doing good." He was tireless in relieving distress and seeking the welfare of all with whom He came into contact. Then "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus" (Phi 2:5). If brotherly love is to continue, self must be denied.
Inseparably connected with self-love is pride. Fostering pride is fatal to the cultivation of brotherly affection. The majority, if not all, of the petty grievances among Christians are to be traced back to this evil root. "Love suffereth long," but pride is terribly impatient. "Love envieth not," but pride is intensely jealous. "Love seeketh not her own," but pride ever desires gratification. "Love seeketh not her own," but pride demands constant attention from others. "Love bear-eth all things," but pride is resentful of the slightest injury. "Love endureth all things," but pride is offended if a brother fails to greet him on the street. Pride must be mortified if brotherly love is to flourish. Therefore, the first injunction86 of Christ to those who come unto Him for rest is, "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek87 and lowly in heart" (Mat 11:29).
Another great enemy to brotherly love is a sectarian spirit. This evil is far more widespread than many suppose. Our readers would be surprised if they knew how often a sample copy of this magazine is despised by those who have a reputation for being stalwarts in the Faith and as possessing a relish for spiritual things. Yet because this paper is not issued by their denomination or "circle of fellowship," it is at once relegated to the wastepaper basket. Alas, how frequently is a spirit of partisanship mistaken for brotherly love: so long as a person "believes our doctrines" and is willing to "join our church," he is received with open arms. On the other hand, no matter how sound in the faith a man may be, nor how godly his walk, if he refuses to affiliate himself with some particular group of professing Christians, he is looked upon with suspicion and given the cold shoulder. Such things ought not to be. They betray a very low state of spirituality.
We are far from advocating the entering into familiar fellowship with everyone who claims to be a Christian—Scripture warns us to "lay hands suddenly on no man" (1Ti 5:22), for all is not gold that glitters. Perhaps there never was a day in which empty profession abounded so much as it does now. Yet there is a happy medium between being taken in by every imposter who comes along and refusing to believe that there are any genuine saints left upon earth. Surely, a tree may be known by its fruits. When we meet with one in whom we can discern the image of Christ, whether that one be a member of our party or not, there should our affections be fixed. "Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God" (Rom 15:7). It is our bounden duty to love all whom Christ loves. It is utterly vain that we boast of our orthodoxy or of the "light" we have, if brotherly love be not shown by us to the feeblest member of Christ's body who crosses our path.
Many other things are serious obstacles to the maintenance of brotherly love. Yet we must not do more than barely mention them: the love of the world; failure to mortify the lusts of the flesh in our souls; being unduly wrapped up in the members of our own family, so that those related to us by the blood of Christ have not that place in our affections that they ought; ignorance of the directions in which it should be exercised and of the proper duties which it calls for; forgetfulness of the foundation of it, which is a mutual interest in the grace of God, that we are fellow members of the Household of Faith; a readiness to listen to idle gossip, which in most instances, is a giving place to the Devil (Eph 4:27), who accuses the brethren day and night.
But there is one other serious hindrance to the continuance of brotherly love that we will notice in a little more detail, namely, impatience. By impatience, we mean a lack of forbearance. True brotherly love is a reflection of God's love for us. He loves His people not for their native attractiveness, but for Christ's sake. Therefore, [He loves] them in spite of their ugliness and vileness. God is "longsuffering to us-ward" (2Pe 3:9), bearing with our crookedness, pardoning our iniquities, healing our diseases, and His word to us is, "Be ye therefore followers92 of God, as dear children, and walk in love" (Eph 5:1-2). We are to love the saints for what we can see of Christ in them, yes, love them and for that reason—in spite of all their ignorance, perverseness, ill temper, obstinacy, fretfulness. It is the image of God in them—not their wealth, amiability, social position—that is the magnet that attracts a renewed heart toward them.
"Forbearing one another in love" (Eph 4:2). False love is glad of any specious93 excuse for throwing off the garb that sits so loosely and uncomfortably upon it. Ahithophel was glad of a pretext to forsake David, whom he hated in his heart, although with his mouth he continued to show much love (2Sa 15-17). "Forbearing one another in love." That love which a little silence or neglect can destroy never came from God; that love that a few blasts of malice from the lips of a new acquaintance will wither is not worth possessing! Remember, dear brother, God suffers our love for one another to be tried and tested—as He does our faith—or there would be no need for this exhortation "forbearing one another in love." The most spiritual Christian on earth is full of infirmities, and the best way of enduring them is to remind yourself frequently and honestly that you also are full of faults and failings.
From Studies in the Scriptures, reprinted by Chapel Library.
One of the hardest things to do in the Christian life is to, "esteem other better than ourselves". (Philippians 2:3) But we are called to, "love one another with a pure heart fervently." (1 Peter 1:22) This is only possible by the Work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, "because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." (Romans 5:5) Let us all step up to the challenge of Christ's command to his church, "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another." (John 13:34) - Bro. Pat

3 comments:

Mark Swan said...

Oh, Jesus, purge me daily of sin, self and pride. Conform me to Your image. Give me discernment in these last days. Teach me through Your Holy Spirit to love others.
"Not too many days"

zacswan said...

Pink's writings show that fine line with loving others and calling them out of their apostacy. Just remember 'such were some of you'. I praise Him for His mercy and grace, everyday, and His precious Holy Spirit, He has 'not left us comfortless'. Praise His name forever.
Bro. Z

Patrick Eaks said...

Angi,
A great prayer for us all, Lord teach me through your Holy Spirit to love others. Amen!

Bro Z,
Great point on the fine line Pink talks about I love this line,

"We are far from advocating the entering into familiar fellowship with everyone who claims to be a Christian—Scripture warns us to "lay hands suddenly on no man" (1Ti 5:22), for all is not gold that glitters. Perhaps there never was a day in which empty profession abounded so much as it does now. Yet there is a happy medium between being taken in by every imposter who comes along and refusing to believe that there are any genuine saints left upon earth. Surely, a tree may be known by its fruits."

Thanks to both of you for your comments here.

Luke 21:28 - And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.

Bro Pat