Grace and Brotherhood
Brotherhood is a phrase that has been largely absent from my life. I had my reasons. Life is fragile. Closeness brings risk. Risk of being known. Being known would bring shame. Shame means the fragility of life could shatter.
Certainly, I’ve had male friends in life. In school, at work, at church…contact with people of both sexes is unavoidable. Shielding myself from getting too close to other guys became my life’s goal. If I could have, I would have become a recluse; but I had these things called church (well, sometimes anyway), work, wife, children…all things that required me to interact. Still, I had three main categories that I classed other men into…fear, fantasy, and nothing.
God was putting grace to work in my life. Even though I was often outside my comfort zone doing things with other parents where our kids were in the same activities; taking part in work training with people I didn’t know; and even stepping into the church, He gave me the strength to get through because He was shaping me…even when I certainly didn’t want to be shaped.
One of the reasons that I didn’t want to surrender to God was because I knew in doing so, I would need to embrace other men as brothers in Christ. I thought this would be difficult. God had some suprises in store for me.
The first surprise was John. I consider John my “original” brother in Christ because it was his selfless action that made my need for God so blatantly apparent. John was the first man that I was able to divulge my ugly struggle to. I was afraid, but his response of grace and love gave me hope.
Slowly, I began to look at other guys in new light. Men from my church embraced and supported me as I began to explore my faith in Jesus Christ. Those categories I had always used before were wiped away, as I became aware that I had a new category called brotherhood. I am able to look at other men as God’s precious creations that He has plans for…and I may be involved in helping them realize those plans.
Brotherhood took an even more surprising turn as I took a step to get support from a men’s ministry where I found freedom and safety along with discipleship and spiritual growth. No condemnation. Grace…love…mercy…and I’m finding that I can now share these characteristics that Jesus expects us to so that others may experience Him as the Wonderful Counselor.
MercyMe has a song called “Beautiful”. In it, they say “you’re beautiful, you’re beautiful, you are treasured, you are sacred, you are His.” You can listen to those words as though they’re being sung to you, but I think more importantly, we should all listen to them as they apply to our brothers (and sisters) in Christ…
Note – this was originally posted a little over a year ago on my first blog.