add to your faith…brotherly kindness

dcp_4709i had  a surreal experience a couple of years ago on a sunday morning when i looked out on our congregation and spotted my cousin, mark.  although i had not seen mark since we were kids, i heard that he had gotten deeply involved with drugs and spent time in prison on drug-related charges.  a burly guy sporting a dark fu-manchu and tattoos from the neck down, mark explained that he had decided to leave california, kick meth, and start over in oklahoma.  mark and his girlfriend bought a house, got jobs, and started attending our fellowship.   they had their ups-n-downs, but they seemed to be doing well.

on the sunday before christmas, mark put a gun to his head and took his own life.

mark had issues, but no one saw this coming.  i have been haunted with questions, like “why didn’t i see the signs,” and “how come i didn’t call and encourage him.”  i also posed a few challenging questions to my church family, such as, “why didn’t mark call one of us,” and “might things have turned out differently if we truly practiced philippians 2:4 and galatians 6:2?”

the most enlightening part of my study of peter’s seven virtues (2 peter 1:3-9) was that brotherly kindness is necessary for spiritual maturity (i wish i could stop, shake you by the lapels, and get you to hear what i just said).  we’re totally on board with the first few virtues (goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness) as being foundational building blocks for discipleship.  but if godliness is a vital element in the process of spiritual maturity, then, according to peter, brotherly kindness is just as vital.

the point is, we cannot become christlike without brotherly kindness.  we will never grow into maturity until we learn to care for each other.  it is impossible to take our bibles into a solitary place and become a disciple–no matter how sincere or pious or disciplined we might be.  we need each other and we’re kidding ourselves if we think we can make it on our own.

consider this:  is there currently a mark in your life?

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4 thoughts on “add to your faith…brotherly kindness

  1. Mark’s story is both tragic and convicting. Do you believe we are at fault? Did we fail Mark or is it possible that Mark just went his own way.

  2. Church as a family. What would most people say if you asked them why it’s not happening? Don’t want it, don’t see the need, don’t have the opportunity, or don’t know how?

  3. Sobering story as I just read an E-mail about a … well I call her a niece but it is not by blood and through several maragies in the family, long story. She was sent to a Baptist home for girls by my brother in-law (a youth pastor) and his wife. Well in short the home is sending her back. The in-laws are looking for a new place to send her. They have been less than kind or fair to her. She has been set apart from the other kids in my in laws house and treated as a burden and told so. They continue to try programs and pilling on medications and simply miss God’s remedy of spending time and showing love. This pre teen girl has never had a fair shot her whole life. It breaks my heart and I can’t get my wife on board to take her in. Her dad is in prison and mom is in drugs and DHS has permenantly taken her away. For some time I have not been able to help but wonder about her life’s future and more important her life to come. Sobering

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