This past Sunday, Pastor Bert shared about being our “brother’s keeper.” It was quite an emotional sermon which left Pastor Bert and many within the congregation in tears. I think Pastor Bert really shared the weightiness of the love that God desires of all His people. There is a truth that, when you love, you give of yourself and you risk being hurt.
As I was thinking about it, when it comes to loving another, there are roughly three groups of people: (1) those who we “truly” love (family, spouse, etc.), (2) those who we really like (friends, famous people, etc.) and (3) those who we don’t really know (strangers, homeless, etc.). I realise that the hardest people to love are in groups 1 and 3, and the easiest is group 2. I mean I have no problem cooking up a nice meal for random friends or giving rides to a car-less student, but when it comes to Betty or my parents, it can sometimes be so hard to wash the dishes or clean up or something like that.
This is of course also very true about total strangers. An example is those who are homeless/poor — they are really hard for me to love. Is he going to use money I give him for alcohol or drugs? Is this person going to hurt me? This person has an odd smell and I don’t want to be near this person.
Yet, every person is a unique bearer of God’s image. If this indeed is true, how we treat others is an extension of how we treat God. It is our calling as Christians (and as human beings, for that matter) to stretch ourselves and love — especially when it is hard, especially when it is with people that is much harder to love. To do anything lower is to dehumanise another person and strip them of their God-given identities. How we love our brothers and sisters is an expression of how we love the God Who created and shaped them. This, indeed, is summed up in God’s great two commands to love God and love our neighbours.
This was a continuation of our series for this year. You can find the notes of the message as well as the worship at the BCEC Sermon Page or listen to last week’s sermon directly – Exploring Community: Brother’s Keeper.