My younger brother and I have always been very close. It’s one of those situations where there was a mess up in the birth order and he should have been born at the same time as me, as my twin. One time, when our family split up while traveling for an international vacation, my brother and I missed the plane because we were too busy talking and didn’t hear the boarding call. We proceeded to wander London overnight and squat over lamps for warmth, with the homeless.
We are ridiculously proud of each other. I wrote about him in my college application essays. He has a spoken word poem about me that he’s used in competitions. I speak about him in unconscious hyperboles. He is the cutest kid, the most caring and justice-driven human being, and the most innovative, driven, sensitive, talented brother in the whole wide world!
We have a million inside jokes, “remember when” moments, and other marks of a life closely lived together. We can seamlessly transition from cracking each other up to sharing our deepest secrets and mingling tears. He’s someone I’m wholly myself around because we love, trust, and try our darnedest to protect each other.
Is this what biblical “brotherhood” is supposed to look like? Am I at a place with any person in God’s family where we are constantly encouraging, being vulnerable in sharing, and eager to live life together? Maybe, maybe not. I think that’s the goal, but we’re held back by our pride and insecurity. We fear people, because unlike blood relatives, they aren’t stuck with us forever. They can walk away. They don’t have to accept us.
A book I’ve been reading recently, When People Are Big and God is Small, talks about humans as flawed love cups. We want love from other people so badly, but because of a crack, it just keeps flowing out and can’t ever be filled. What God does is break and remold our cup, and repurpose it for His glory. He pours his love on us, and our cup overflows. It stops being about how much we need love, and starts being about how much we can love others. When the focus is turned away from ourselves, we are able to share and love, fearless in our identity in Christ. Isn’t that a beautiful concept?
Sometimes, when I think about my little brother, I feel a surge of love. It’s not based on anything he’s done for me, or because of his worth as a person. It’s just because of who he is, because he is my brother! I want that in my relationships with my brothers and sisters in Christ- an unflinching, incalculable love that comes from our identity in Him.