“Now; about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, because you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. And in fact, you do; you do love all the brothers throughout Macedonia. And yet we urge you, brothers, to do so more and more.” 1 Thessalonians 4:9-10
I think you and I are a bit like this Church. As Christians, especially if we’ve been a Christian for a long time, or have grown up in a Christian family, we know how to love one another – we all know not to steal, to tell the truth, we know to share and we’re kind to one another. We’re doing pretty good! We love one another!
But. Paul’s not finished there. He says – and this is something really important to Paul, because he urges this Church to love each other more and more. What does that mean? I think it’s a bit like an idea in our family, called good, better, best. I think this is what Paul was saying – he thought these guys were doing a good job, but he didn’t want them to just do a good job. He wanted them to do better at loving each other. They were doing fine, he wasn’t telling them off – but he wanted them to do even better! In fact, he wanted them to do the best they could at loving each other!
Someone walks into the room – you have three options:
You could keep listening to your ipod, barely make eye contact, and mumble out a bored hello.
You could take out your earplugs, smile warmly, look them in the eye, before going back to what you were doing.
You could take out your earplugs, smile, walk over and shake hands while looking them in the eye and introducing yourself.
We all know that the first option wasn’t very good – it’s not showing much love to the other person! The second option is alright you took out her earplugs, and smiled and said hi. Nothing wrong with that. But the third option, that’s the best – when you take out your earplugs and smile and say hi, but also walk over to shake their hand nice and firmly. (There’s even a good-better-best way to shake hands. We can touch each other’s hands – that’s good – we can give a firm hand shake, that’s better – or we can give a firm hand shake and look them in the eye and smile. That’s the best!)
You trip over your brother’s NERF gun. You…
Get angry and keep moving
You show self-control and keep moving on
You show self-control and pick it up, putting the gun away for your brother.
We all know that getting angry over something like that isn’t good. We all know that we should show self-control and not get angry. When you do that, you do good. But the third time, when you pick it up and put it away as well – like the verse that says if you see something that belongs to your brother, to go put it away for them – that’s when you do what Paul was talking about, and loving your brother more and more.
Or when we do something wrong, we all know that just saying ‘sorry’ won’t will fix the problem. We know that we need to actually admit we were in the wrong, and ask for forgiveness. But the best thing? We need to make restitution. Restitution means to go out of our way, do a bit extra, to make sure the relationship is back to normal again – something like hugging each other. That’s doing the best.
“Now; about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, because you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. And in fact, you do; you do love all the brothers throughout Macedonia. And yet we urge you, brothers, to do so more and more.”
This week, don’t just settle for doing alright. Do the absolute best you can in loving one another, more and more.