“Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.
These passages show us the heart of the Father, this lines up perfectly with His character. He is light, he is transparent, He has no ulterior motive but is genuinely driven by benevolent love. Jesus came and exemplified this truth even to His own death on the cross. Jesus commended His own disciples when they displayed this same character. Remember Nathanael? “An Israelite in whom is no guile.” So, we should ask ourselves are we being transparent? Are we operating from a clear conscience and a right heart motive?
 Jn. 1:47  Websters’s 1828 Dictionary
Are we laying down our lives for the brethren? What about on facebook, social media?
Here comes trouble! The designers of these platforms recognized many pitfalls in them. There are a plethora of articles online showing that these sites were designed to be addictive. It would be easy to write an article highlighting the idolatry which can spring up from abusing facebook and other social media. However, this is not the intent of this article. The reason for mentioning this, is that it is the writer’s supposition that social media addiction is the source of much of the unruly behavior we witness every day as we scroll through our newsfeeds. Every day, Christians are witnessed attacking other Christians without remorse or shame and that in front of the world. This article is not a call to dump social media but a plea for fellow Christians to act graciously while engaging in it. Recognize the pitfalls of the cyber world. Everyone likes having their comments ‘liked’ etc., how far are you willing to go to receive that attention and approval?
As a preacher I can attest to the pressure to be known as someone who stands for God without compromise. This “pressure” (though it would seem valid) is actually ungodly. The fact that there is pressure is a direct sign that it is just a thinly layered attempt to gain the approval of men. Jesus called us to enter into His rest. We don’t have to prove we are someone who stands for God, we just have to be someone who stands for God. Love God with our heart, mind and strength, in doing this, we are called next to love our neighbor as ourselves. The question is naturally begged, “Who is our neighbor?” The parable of the good Samaritan displays the benevolent love we ought to have for all of God’s creation. That said, the Epistle of John distinguishes this even deeper he commands us to love the “brethren”. The next question which arises is this: who is our brethren? Is it only those who on all points agree with us?
Let us make something clear, I John also gives us clear guidelines on how to discern the spirit of any doctrine presented. By these guidelines we can be sure that groups like the Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons, Catholics, and Muslims are not Christian groups. The biggest sign of this is the fact that each of these groups make these distinctions while among their own. They present themselves as Christian up until the point they win a convert then they immediately begin to speak against Christianity. There are doctrines that are clear all the way through the Bible which help us ‘know them by their fruit’.
Now within the spectrum of evangelical Christianity there are many things which aren’t exactly crystal clear; different traditions observed, eschatological views, predestination/ free-will, atonement theories and on and on. While we may have passionate opinions regarding these issues, we would do wise to recognize that the person in opposition to your view may well be your brother, and, so you have a duty to treat him/her graciously. We see this distinction made in Titus, how to appeal to the brethren and all men for that matter.
 Mt. 10:28-30  Lk. 10:25-37  Mt. 7:16:21
“Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.
This should give us a general understanding and guidelines for loving our neighbors and especially how to love the brethren. Meekness in no way implies that you have to be smiling, or pleased with every interaction or confrontation, remember ‘rebuke them sharply’. Confrontation is awkward and uncomfortable by its nature. Still, you shouldn’t add needless strife and personal (unrighteous) anger into the engagement. As was spoken already, before you get into any confrontation, check your own heart. If the issue is clear sin we have a duty to rebuke that. If it is a matter of some questionable doctrine then we should strive to show the reasons of our opposition (why we believe what we do) with a consistent life which reflects our beliefs. In all matters of doctrine, we need to rely on the Holy Ghost to bring us all to the truth. We have been promised a word which ‘your adversary’ cannot ‘gainsay nor resist’. When arguments are carried on unproductively, we should, each one of us consider our ways. Why is God’s clear promise not coming to pass?
 Lk. 21:14-15
Avoid foolish questions, needless points of contention. As much as we ought to be bold in standing for the truth in matters that are clear; we ought also to be slow to remove a person from among us for some unclear doctrine. Does the person in question have a bad heart or have they given themselves to bad teachings? We need to be reasonable and as much as it is possible at peace with all men. We should be slow to use the term ‘heretic’ and notice the rules for dismissal: one and two admonitions. Give people a chance to consider what is being put before them. Knowing the goodness and terror of the Lord we persuade men. When people are behind the safety of their computer screen they become so quick to chop’em and block’em. These are people who obviously haven’t considered that God is watching. Let us be kind to each other, especially the brethren. Give one another the benefit of the doubt. We have a charge to keep as Christians and it is a ministry of reconciliation.
 II Co. 5:11-18
“To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
I am only a brother...
Can I tell you about my elder brother Jesus?