A Connected Disconnect
Let’s look at a biblical progression of time embracing early times, later times, and now. In Genesis 4 we are told the story of Cain and Abel. After they grew up, both seemingly had it made. They certainly had the opportunity. After all, the competition level was surely not like it is in our present times. Abel was a shepherd and Cain a farmer. But it all went south. Abel was killed by Cain, who was subsequently banished from the land by the Lord and marked to live out his life as one who was not in the favor of the Lord.
As a side note, how often in today’s time do we see or hear of situations (or perhaps even experience them) where siblings are little more than “nothing” to each other? How many families have been torn apart by sibling rivalry? Was the example of Genesis 4 one of the precursors to just how ugly and sick our society could become?
Jump now to later times. Peter offered godly wisdom in 2 Peter 1:1-9, wherein he shared with us through the Word the very simple to read-more difficult to live guide for living a godly life. In that plan are two key elements:
· godliness with brotherly affection
· and, brotherly affection with love for everyone.
Interestingly, Peter was a lot like me (and, perhaps many of us) according to what the scholars have to say about him (as well as what we can clearly see as we study what has been written about him in the Word). Some of his more obvious characteristics were:
· He was erratic and impulsive
· He was a huge optimist
· He indulged strong feelings
· He got into jams because he would speak without thinking
· He often vacillated from one extreme to another..
In spite of those characteristics, Peter was extremely close to his brother Andrew. There was no sibling rivalry. Rather, it was Andrew who was often a sounding board for Peter, and one who gave wise advice and counsel to him. Given Peter’s characteristics, it might be fair to say that he could have been somewhat “thin skinned”, and as such jealous of Andrew. But no, there was no room for sibling rivalry because they both had the Lords work to do—building up others.
Finally, let’s turn to the now. I never had a brother. Over the years there have been some very special folks in my life who I called “brother”, as they were truly the brothers I never had. There weren’t very many of those—because as has become increasingly clear through my small group experiences, true brothers (or sisters for that matter) are not only special, but very necessary for developing and continuing spiritual growth of any quality. It is through that growth that we grow to treat all we come in contact with as brothers (and sisters). We learn to live brotherly kindness which has four expressions:
1. There is no favoritism
2. There is unity
3. There is deep closeness (way beyond friendship)
4. There is true devotion (unrestricted servant hood)
The connection between what took place in Genesis, and what Peter has to say in his 2nd book isn’t at all disconnected. One is a great example of how we are not to live, and the other is a living testimony of how we should live. And our church has provided each of us an opportunity to group together in small groups to help each other overcome life’s obstacles so that together we can really learn what it is to live the godly life we want to live and are meant to live. In Genesis, the brothers were alone. In 2nd Peter, they were grouped. They were successful disciples. There was no disconnect.