We are now half way through 2020 — a year which, to many, feels like the worst year in recent memory. Yet, as we celebrate our country’s independence this weekend, it is helpful to remember there have always been challenging seasons in our history.
The year 1776 was so difficult it prompted Thomas Paine to pen the famous statement “these are the times that try men’s souls…” What are we to do in times of such difficulty?
Consider the gift of Brotherhood/Sisterhood. Brotherhood/Sisterhood can be defined in this way:
A deep, mutual bond between Christians that is joyfully expressed in service and sacrifice for each other’s good and for God’s glory.
This is important, especially in these times in which we are trying to “keep our distance.” It can be very tempting to withdraw into isolation. However, alone is dangerous. That is why sharing a brotherhood/sisterhood type of bond with our brothers and sisters in Christ can help us survive and even thrive in challenging times.
There are two key aspects of our brotherhood/sisterhood that are particularly important
1. Shared Risk
We were never meant to withstand the pressures and risks of life by ourselves. Challenges, fears, anxieties, and other concerns can be overcome when we lock arms with our brothers and sisters. There is a unique and powerful bond we experience when we engage in life with others at our side. There is something truly powerful in knowing you are with others who are committed to your well-being.
John 15:13: No one has greater love than this: to lay down his life for his friends.
Prov 17:17: A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.
2. Shared Reward
Brotherhood/Sisterhood is more than way to cope with the challenges of life. It’s more than accomplishing a goal or winning a battle together. The relationship we experience with each other as brothers and sisters in Christ is the ultimate reward. If we look back, we may look fondly on events or accomplishments, but more than anything we should consider the value of the relationships we have developed.
The Marines have a wonderful motto that summarizes this beautifully:
Saepius Exertus, Semper Fidelis, Frater Infintas — which translated means: Often Tested, Always Faithful, Brothers Forever!
In this life we will be often tested, but as sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father, we experience an incredible reward of being brother and sisters, faithful and forever.
Think About It | Talk About It
Are you as smart as a Marine? What is the English translation to these Latin terms?
• Saepius Exertus
• Semper Fidelis
• Frater Infintas
• Are you experiencing the gift of brotherhood/sisterhood? If not, what may be keeping you from reaching out to others?
• If you are experiencing the gift of brotherhood/sisterhood, talk about some experiences you have had and express your gratitude to God.
• If you are feeling isolated, what are some ways you might begin to initiate connection with others? Pray that God might put on your heart a person or group who you might connect with. Examples could be: