I have so enjoyed our summer teaching series entitled "Mandatory Moves", in which we have been examining ground that every Christian must take if they want to be (and remain) associated with Jesus. I have been allowing the Apostle Peter to guide us from his 2nd letter, where he calls for you to "make every effort to add to your faith" some additional qualities and priorities. He says, "Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; to goodness, knowledge; to knowledge, self-control; to self-control, perseverance; to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness." (2 Peter 1:5-7)
Today we examine the 7th quality in his list: brotherly kindness. It sounds simple enough, does it not?
However, if you think Peter is just generally saying, "be kind to everybody", you'd be mistaken. It is a bit more demanding and pointed than that, and this should not surprise any of us. Why?
While I do not think the qualities Peter is sharing absolutely must be put in any particular order, they do have the feel of growing in intensity (or difficulty) up to this point. How strange it would be to go from words as powerful and costly as "self-control" and "perseverance" and "godliness" to some sort of lackluster, unsubstantial, and "easy" feature. This quality is weightier than that.
The Greek word that Peter uses here is actually a fusion of two separate Greek words. Best we can tell, this word was created by Christians, because it is not found in any other Greek writings. You are actually more familiar with this word that you may think. It is the Greek word, "philadelphia" and it means "to have a friendship-type of love with your brother (or sister)".
In short, church, you are to be "friends" with Christians as a priority of your life.
As I type that, it sounds much easier than it is. Keep in mind that friendship is no small thing. It is powerful, binding, full of loyalty, comradery, sacrifice and time spent.
Now, typically, you choose your friends, do you not? There is even an old saying that goes something like, "You can choose your friends, but you cannot choose your family." Well, Peter is changing that for the Christian. He is saying: "You cannot choose your friends. You are to be friends with your Christian family."
Are your fellow believers your friends? Are they the ones you are there for? Are they the ones for which you do favors? Are they the ones that can count on you for anything? Are they the ones you choose to invest in?
In the same way a parent longs for his/her children to "become friends," God longs for His children to do the same. And just like we must work at it with our earthly siblings, we are to do the same with our spiritual siblings.