1 Peter 1:14-16 – As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
(faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity [agape])
Have you ever heard of the city of Philadelphia? It is also known as the “city of brotherly love.” The term “brotherly kindness” found in 2 Peter 1 is the Greek word “philadelphia,” and it also means “fraternal affection.” This is an outward expression of kindness and affection that is based on the kind of relationship that is familial. That can be between blood (birth) siblings in the natural sense, or between two people who are committed to one another at a familial level. Such might be found in what we would call fraternal organizations such as military, law enforcement, fire fighters, or some other deeply committed team level. This is NOT “charity,” or “agape” love. While “agape” is directly from God or a born-again spirit, “brotherly kindness” would be more akin to the deep kind of love demonstrated at an emotional level. This identification is in no way intended to diminish its value or impact on human life, but to simply mark it for the value the Lord puts on it.
What we would call “phileo” love is a truly valuable, quality form of love for people with whom we have developed, and continue to develop a strong abiding relationship. As much as a mother loves her child when it is born, in this arena of love, she will see that love grow over years. It is in family relationships that this love is most often seen at its highest levels. I believe the only love higher than “phileo” is “agape.” While “agape” love is the “love of God,” and is based solely on the character of the lover, “phileo” is based on the growing relationship between two people. You see, God loved the vilest of human beings, and has given Jesus for them. “Agape” love, or “the love of God” does not require reciprocity in order to be expressed, though the rejection of “agape” love carries an eternal cost factor. On the other hand, “phileo” love CAN BE damaged by ill treatment of one person in the relationship towards others.
God understands the need for people to build kind relationships with other people, and that the absence of such relationships can be devastating to the human spirit and mind. Therefore, He emphasizes the high priority of “brotherly kindness” towards one another. It is not good for Christians to isolate themselves from one another, to be hermit-like in their interactions. Sadly, however, when “brotherly kindness” is mission from human relationships, the ties that bind us together in life can become frayed, and even broken, greatly damaging those human relationships. Relationships built in “brotherly kindness” require work, commitment, steadfastness, and persistence. Make them strong through faith.
Manna for Today – 1 Peter 1:3-25; 2 Peter 1:3-15